There is a rather large group of people who are waiting to sell their home, hoping that the housing market and the economy turn around and start to improve. This might be a very wise strategy if it is what you are currently doing, but only if you are planning on waiting five or more years.
There is a growing list of homes that are not on the market but that do need to be sold, and we refer to that list as the shadow inventory of homes. We have estimated that its size is somewhere near the level of 5 years worth of supply, so it is not going away any time soon. It includes home sellers who are waiting on the market to change, but it also includes the scores of pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, and REO properties that have yet to hit the market. The situation is a mess and homeowners need to review their options.
Home Sellers Playing The Waiting Game
As we continue to monitor the supply of homes for sale in Tallahassee, one graph that has become suddenly valuable is our analysis of home sellers who decided to “wait until next year” when they wanted to sell their home. It is not a new phenomenon that some home sellers want more for their home than it is worth (:)), and it shows the impact of their decisions over the past 21 years.
This graph shows whether or not a homeowner was successful at waiting an additional year before deciding to sell a home. If the graph shows a “yes,” as it does for 13 of the first 14 years, then home values appreciated and it is likely that the seller yielded more money than had they sold it the previous year. But if the graph shows a “no,” as we have seen for the past four years, then the market saw values drop and it is likely that the seller missed a better time to sell a home.
Due to the glut of supply, as well as the tremendous pile-up occurring in the shadow inventory of homes, it is likely that this graph will produce a “no” for at least 3 more years, but a realistic expectation would be more like 7 or 8 years (see article on returning to real estate market equilibrium from last week).
If you have a home that you would like to sell, but you do not know what to do, here is what I recommend. Sit down with an expert in your housing market (not just a friend in real estate) and discuss your options. Find out the estimated value of your home and what it would mean if you sold the home. Make an informed decision and then move on with your life knowing you’ve done the best that you can. There are some surprising solutions you might have considered yet, so talk to a professional to see what can be done for you.