Have home sellers missed the busy part of the market if they list now?

Price Your Home Right To Sell Quickly Or Pay The Price

42% of homes on the market had a price reduction in July and 46% of the homes that went into Pending status had a price reduction. Lesson – Between 40% & 50% of home sellers are rethinking their list prices.”
~ Les Sulgrove, Vice President at VIA Group Realtors

Des Moines Home Sale Strategy – Proper Pricing is Crucial This Summer

The two most often asked questions on the streets this month have been “How is the real estate market?” and “Have we missed the busy part of the market if we list now?”

The answer to both questions is that the real estate market in central Iowa is hot! (Temperature and Activity) The real estate market we would normally see in May has appeared in July. Right after Independence Day, the real estate market typically experiences a little dip in sales as home buyers and sellers focus on vacations and summer family activities. That breather hasn’t affected real estate sales this year.

I’ve researched how July 2019 compared to July 2018 as well as what segments of the market are doing best. The results surprised me a bit.

Year Over Year Market Activity

There are two main segments in our real estate market at play. Resale and new construction homes. However, the combined activity alone doesn’t tell the full story.

For example: Looking at overall combined market data July 2019 compared to July 2018, home inventory levels are up 8 ½% over last year. The median list price is down 5% this month at $274,900 compared to $288,650 a year ago. The pace of sales (Months of Inventory) is exactly the same at 2.8 months, meaning if no additional listings came on the market, we would run out of homes to sell in less than 3 months.

Year to date closed sales tell a little different story. Because of the delayed start to business this year from weather, closed home sales are just a little bit behind – but catching up quickly. Currently there have been 7,640 home sales close year to date vs 8,052 during the same period in 2018. The number of sales in Pending status (going through the inspection, appraisal and underwriting process) is also up adding to my report of a fast-paced market. Word on the street this past week is that appraisals are currently taking up to 3 weeks to be processed – a sure sign of heavy sales activity.

New Construction vs Resale

When you break down the homes for sale and closed sale activity by resale and new construction, you begin to see an interesting change. For much of the past 12 to 18 months, I have reported that new construction inventory is growing at a fast pace. In the past, new construction has made up as high as 36% of all homes for sale. This month that number has dropped down to 33% (still a high number in my opinion).

New construction inventory levels are dropping and so is the median list price of new homes. With the introduction of a couple of national builders entering the real estate market offering entry level new homes at a substantially lower price point, the median list price of new homes has dropped to $298,900 from $316,450 a year ago. Interestingly the median sale price has remained almost exactly where it was last year at $300,000. This tells me that between the lower entry price new homes entering the market, buyers are taking advantage of dropping mortgage interest rates, builder incentives and what was a buyer’s market of new home choices. Builders appear to be getting a good handle on supply and demand of the central Iowa home buyer market.

While new construction inventory is dropping, resale home inventory is on the rise – up over 14% from a year ago with 2,641 homes to choose from and at a median list price of $249,900 (down from $259,000 a year ago). The resale market is by far the most active with the months of inventory at 2.2 months and for the month of July, resale homes were on the market on average 10 days before accepting an offer.

When homes are listed for sale and they don’t hit that 10 day on the market average, the first solution is to look at the home to determine what is keeping buyers from making offers. Everything from condition of the home, accessibility or ease of showing and the all-important factor, price is evaluated. Statistics from 2018 sales showed that a single-family resale property that is properly priced at the start will sell within 98.7% of list price. If you miss that initial price, the ultimate drop from the original list price is almost 10% and takes over 3 times as long to sell.

Price Reductions

42% of homes on the market had a price reduction in July and 46% of the homes that went into Pending status had a price reduction. What this is showing is that the Des Moines real estate market is hitting its peak pricing levels and that between 40% and 50% of home sellers are evaluating their list prices.

Bottom Line – In this weather delayed market year, Proper Pricing is the number one factor that home sellers must focus on to get the maximum sale price on their homes.

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July Metro Single Family Resale Data

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July Metro Condo/Townhome Resale Data

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July Metro Single Family New Construction Data

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July Metro Condo/Townhome New Construction Data

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Click This Link for the 2018 Des Moines Real Estate Year End Market Recap

~Les Sulgrove, Vice President
VIA Group REALTORS


If you are interested in selling your home or purchasing a home, give me a call! I will help you determine your best strategy based on your local market data.

About Les Sulgrove

Les is an Iowa native born in Des Moines and raised in the southwest Iowa town of Bridgewater. He has been a resident of Des Moines since 1982 and has been married to his wife Linda for over 35 years. Together they have 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren and make their home on Des Moines south side. He has been a licensed REALTOR® since 1990 and is Vice President at VIA Group, REALTORS®. Les is the 2011 Past President of the Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS® (DMAAR) and received the award of Salesperson of the Year by DMAAR in 2007 for his involvement and service to the Association. Additionally, he is active at the Iowa Association of REALTORS® and serves on local, state and national committees. He also owns and operates the national technology networking group CyberProfessionals. This group of real estate professionals meets twice annually across the United States to learn from each other and share new marketing ideas with heavy emphasis on current and future technologies and their use in the real estate business. Les’ hobbies include golf, photography and sarcastic humor. He and Linda spend many Saturday mornings from Spring to Fall at the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market. He enjoys spoiling his grandchildren at every opportunity.

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2 thoughts on “Have home sellers missed the busy part of the market if they list now?

  1. Thank you Les – as always very informative! I’m an appraiser and tend to notice a lot of these trends in searching for comparables and researching market data for my 1004MC that lenders require, but rather in bits and pieces and not always a cohesive trend or summary of overall market trends I pick up on. I also get lots of questions from owners and sellers about “What the market is doing” and always appreciate all your hard work and analysis – I frequently look back at your reports for info and feel they offer valuable insight into out unique central Iowa market.
    (On a different subject – I’m a vendor down at the DSM Farmers Market – Bunny Bytes Designs – handmade cards, gift bags and rubber stamp art – and wonder if we’ve ever met in my booth? I’m usually right next to Le Mie – a very dangerous location as they give away pastries all morning)

    1. Thanks for the kind words Holly! I missed this comment when you posted it – apparently my alerts were turned off accidentally.. I’m happy to hear that this information is helpful!! That’s my ultimate goal. RE: Des Moines Farmers Market.. can you believe I haven’t been yet this year? I will look you up when we do go!

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