As Realtors, we get asked a lot “what’s the market like right now?”. I was in Richmond last week, meeting with Virginia Senators and Delegates from our district, and every single one of them asked “how’s the market?”. It can seem disingenuous to always be saying that the real estate market is moving quickly, but as you can see from the graph below of single-family homes in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, as of this post the market is moving quickly. We’re not making this up.
(The graph is interactive, and therefore should update automatically over time; what it’s detailing is how many months worth of supply there is at any given point. If you hover your mouse over a particular point on the graph, you’ll see the exact data representation for that point of the graph.)
As you look at this, what you’re seeing is that – since July 2016 – inventory levels in the NRVMLS (New River Valley Multiple Listing Service) have been falling. It took Blacksburg and Christiansburg a few more months to catch up, but beginning in September 2016 they also saw inventory levels starting to fall. In January 2017, inventory in the NRVMLS was at 6.3 months of inventory, in Blacksubrg it was 2.6 months, and in Christiansburg, 3.4 months. We call this the Absorption Rate – how long it would take the market to absorb the available inventory in the market. I’ve written about it before, and it’s something that we at Nest Realty watch pretty closely.
Why does Absorption Rate matter? Well, it gives us a sense of both where the market has been, and where it is now. The general line of thinking is that 6 months of inventory is a relatively balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers – much like the New River Valley real estate market right now. Anything greater than six months typically favors buyers because supply is exceeding demand, and anything less than six months favors sellers because demand is exceeding supply. That’s what we’re seeing in Blacksburg and Christiansburg.
So what’s that mean for buyers and sellers in Blacksburg and Christiansburg right now? It’s a familiar refrain, I’m afraid – sellers who are priced well and show well are going to be in the drivers’ seat for the foreseeable future, and buyers need to be ready and prepared (preapproved) to buy … there isn’t going to be much opportunity to wait and think about it.
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