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You Can't See in a White Out

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Posted 09-12-2010 at 09:57 PM by Roy Sanborn

There were only 1318 residential homes on the market as of September 1 in the Lakes Region of NH communities covered in this report. I am being a little sarcastic. That it is better than the 1344 available on August, but more than the 1291 last September 1st. This total represents 20.5 months worth of inventory which is still three times what it should be! I guess this must be the new norm.



I was driving home through snow last weekend. Thatís right. It was Labor Day weekend and there was waist deep snow to deal with. The snow was not the white fluffy kind that blows around so you canít see, but it was still blinding. If you are old enough to remember black and white television you should remember trying to adjust the television antenna to get the picture to come in clearer. Sometimes it was blurry or wobbling, but most of the time the picture would be snowy if the reception was poor. You couldnít see a clear picture because of the snow. I guess itís the same as static on the radio. If you were lucky and had a fancy antenna on a rotor you could remotely turn the antenna in the direction toward the broadcasting station and significantly improve the picture. Today, the television broadcasting industry has improved light years with cable and satellite providing crystal clear pictures on high definition flat screen televisions. It is absolutely wonderful. Perfect clarity. That may be part of the problem.

The snow I am referring to is the kind of snow that keeps home buyers and sellers from seeing the housing picture clearly. It is hard to get a clear picture of where the market really is when you have over 1300 homes for sale, many of which are still overpriced and causing frequent white outs when it comes down to buying or selling a home. When homes sell well off the asking price-(at the price they should have been to start with) all other buyers notice is that it sold at a fraction of the asking price, not the right price.



Buyers and sellers can get stuck in the snow (without even knowing it!) from the information they get off the internet and from watching the news on TV. They think they see a perfectly clear picture of where things are because the picture is so sharp you can see the individual blades of grass on a lawn. But a lot of it is focused on national trends, not regional markets. And, as you know, it could be snowing here and raining somewhere else. Real estate is a very regional business and the national trends may or may not apply to where you are. This is the only way I have to explain why so many buyers come to the Lakes Region thinking that every home can be bought at 20-30% of asking price. Buyers today certainly have better access to information about real estate on the internet, but they may not necessarily be educated. The picture may appear to be clear, but the snow is still there; modern technology has over ridden it. Buyers (and sellers) donít know about the snow they havenít seen.

Technology is wonderful, but it doesnít always make you wiser. Sometimes buyers and sellers do really need an antenna on a rotor to help point them in the right direction and clarify the picture. Think of your real estate agent as that antenna. He, or she, can help clarify the local real estate picture whether you are a buyer or a seller so that it make a little more sense. And while this may sound like it, is not a snow job.



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