One could be forgiven for assuming that it’s a time bomb you hear, but, thankfully, it’s the early telegraph quietly signaling that there is life in the River Oaks real estate market as we approach November 2016. And it’s not a moment too soon, for it has been rather gloomy of late.
As showing activity fell off the cliff-face at the end of September, after a promising start to that month, many of our colleagues wondered if they would ever sell another house again in their career. Buyers suddenly lost any motivation, and it seemed that sellers were taking the neglect personally.
Sales, too, have plummeted since July. The rentrée of the market in September initially led to a strong pick-up of showings, only to flop after two weeks. There has been only one closed sale in October, as of the time of this writing, and no more expected for the month. That sale was for one of the very least expensive properties in River Oaks. So, what has been going on?
There was broad-based uncertainty across the market, both for buyers and for sellers. The price of oil dipped suddenly over the summer, as it had in 2015 when it continued to drop for another six months. This autumn, while not exactly recovering, oil has moved within a steady range and, with that, real estate market participants have resumed breathing normally. The change was discernible in the second week of October.
It was nothing dramatic — and has yet to yield significant new sales — but those of us who are constantly checking the pulse of the market sensed some life. Showing appointments for the more expensive properties suddenly increased, and enquiries have certainly kept us busier. We trust this will continue and strengthen through the end of the year.
After zero new contracts in September, there is already a modest rebound so far in October, albeit mostly for the less-expensive properties on the market.
So, what can one expect for the remainder of the year? We clearly see the following:
•There is a deep pool of well-qualified buyers for all property types.
•Those buyers and their agents are making serious enquiries.
•Available inventory is more than adequate, excepting properties priced at less than $2 million. But we could use more in the $3 million to $5 million range. (Please call us if you have been thinking about jumping in.)
• Interest rates are slowly edging up.
We believe that the market is just looking for an excuse to resume, with a good chance to end the year strongly. With a bang.