By Paul Post
Area real estate professionals say the fourth quarter heading into 2024 continues to be a strong seller’s market as demand far outpaces inventory for prospective homebuyers.
“It seems that there’s been a decline in homes coming on the market during the past year because many people who are at lower interest rates are holding back, they don’t want to have to buy a house at a higher rate,” said Janet Besheer, of Equitas Realty in Saratoga Springs. “They’re just backing off. So there are fewer sales. We have a lot of disappointed people.”
Pending sales throughout the Capital Region declined 9 percent this summer while closed sales dropped more than 26 percent and total inventory was down 28 percent.
Mortgage rates are currently over 7 percent, more than double the 3 percent level of a few years ago.
“That’s causing a certain portion of the market to step back and say, ‘I’m not going to buy now, we’re going to stay put’,” Besheer said. “Others say, ‘We’ll wait till interest rates come down.’ Well that might be a long wait.”
Meanwhile, prices continue to escalate.
“It’s hard for empty nesters to retire, sell and buy in this market,” said Melissa Cartier, of Saratoga Springs-based Cartier Real Estate Group LLC. “They’re getting a lot for their property, sure, but to purchase at such a higher price point? I don’t know.”
“It’s a really tough time for buyers,” she said. “It’s not fun for them. Lots of people have been looking six months, a year. One buyer I know moved out and rented for a full year before finding a house.”
Some people are so anxious to buy that they’re waiving inspections, which she strongly discourages. “We like to see people be confident in what they’re buying,” Cartier said. “We try to have our buyers be more completive in other areas, like giving the seller more time to move out, not just throwing caution to the wind.”