If they don’t affect YOUR future, then what’s the point…

As a society, we like to take advantage of a relatively small window of time to reflect on what has happened in the past, and project forward what we think will happen in the future. (Unless, of course, you work for a company that uses a non-calendar fiscal year, in which case you get two small windows.)

For the majority of us, however, that small window of time usually occurs in the final few days of one calendar year, and the first few days of the next. Which means by the time you read this, you should be pretty sick and tired of all the “looking back at 2016” and the “exciting predictions for 2017.” The reason you’re probably worn out is that often the “looking back” is negative and the “predictions” for the future don’t affect you. I know that’s how I feel. Regardless of what the punditry is expecting to happen in 2017, I know I still need to get to work, provide for my family, bring value to my community and do my best to help the folks across the coffee shop table from me every chance I get.

So in that spirit, let’s pretend that you and I are having coffee. It’s mid-January, our goals and resolutions are already set in stone (and set in motion). We’re hopeful. We’re optimistic. We know that in the next 11+ months, some good stuff is going to happen, but we also know there will be some tough stuff too. You want to know—what’s the market look like? Without pulling out a bunch of charts and graphs, here’s what I’d say…

Listen, if you think you’d like to sell your house this next year, it’s a good time. Last year we noticed the early hints of a seller’s market—the first one in close to 10 years. Now, if you’ve lived in Lynchburg long enough, you know the economy here is on a relatively even keel. After the recession, we worked our way back to a balanced inventory of homes. It’s been healthy and stable for a couple years now.

But starting early last spring, we noticed fewer new homes coming on the market. At first it seemed like maybe just a lag in the market activity, but as spring turned to summer it became clear that something had shifted. Initially the dip in available homes affected just certain areas and price ranges— “pockets” I like to call them. As the year wore on, however, it looked like the shift was spreading.

And now as we look ahead to a new year, it looks like that trend has settled in. Mind you, it’s not a severe seller’s market. There are still plenty of homes to choose from. The days on market was still at an average of 107 days for homes sold in the last quarter. But here’s a fun stat: the sales volume of homes sold in the last quarter of 2016 was 21.4% higher than the last quarter of 2015.

I expect this year will be more of the same. With interest rates expected to continue rising, any buyer who was on the fence before has most likely fallen off it and onto the side of buying soon. If we’re fortunate enough to enjoy a mild winter, the buying season may have an early start again this year. All good news for potential sellers in the Lynchburg area.

So back to you, across the table… if you think this is the year you might want to move, it’s fair to expect your home to sell faster than it would have a few years ago. Which means it’s a good idea to have your plans for where you want to go at least sketched out so you’ll be ready when you get that offer (or two!).
How’s that for something to look forward to?

By Dan Vollmer