March Home Sales Show Spring Impact

(Radio Iowa) The Iowa Association of Realtors report for March says the housing market saw some of its normal spring pick up. Association president-elect, Shaner Magalhaes, says it happens every year.

“You get through the nasty weather of January and February, where nobody even wants to come out of their house, let alone list their house for sale,” he says, “and as soon as you hit March, people start thinking, okay, I’m going to move up to a nicer home or whatever.” March saw around 34-hundred new single-family listings — which was down about 15 percent compared to March 2022. But that was a nearly 48 percent increase from the listings in February. Magalhaes says the month was positive — despite some continuing issues.

“We’re still down as far as inventory, we’re down on sales a little bit compared to last year. But all in all, it’s still what I would call a busy market,” he says. He say the current situation is one that’s easier to deal with than the super hot market they had been in.

“I think a lot of us use the phrase, we wish that things would go back to normal, whatever normal means,” he says. “I mean in the last couple years, just crazy stuff was going on with, you know, just your basic house at 250-thousand dollars, getting 20 or 30 offers and selling for $50,000 over asking price. And I mean, obviously sellers are happy about that kind of scenario. But pretty much nobody else really is.” Magalhaes says it still remains a sellers market.

“So even though there’s fewer buyers, and there are fewer buyers just because of the interest rates being so high and so forth, there’s even fewer listings available so you’re still having sort of a off balance situation where like last week I listed a house in the 250 range and we had eight offers within 24 hours and ended up selling it for 20,000 over asking price because there just isn’t enough out there,” he explains. He expects more buyers will decide to get in the housing market after deciding that getting a home is better than waiting for a drop in interest rates.

” And just count on the fact or hope, hedge your bets that the interest rates will start coming down. And, you know, maybe two years from now you refinance, and you get back down to five percent, or four and a half percent or something like that,” he says. “So I think that is getting more buyers in the market, that they’ve come to realize that, you know, if they’re if they’re doing the waiting game, it’s gonna be a long wait.” He says they also come to realize that buying builds equity.

“Obviously most of us have rented in our lifetime. But at the end of the day, if you’re going to be in any particular community for more than a few years, it just makes more sense to own versus renting. I mean, it’s just pure, do the math, and you’ll figure it out,” according to. Closed sales of single-family homes so far this year remain down 22 percent compared to the same three month period in 2022.

Iowa Association of Realtors.