Experience mounts as homebuyers meet sellers in a rising middle
Home sales in Oklahoma City are strong, builders have a lot to do and experienced buyers and sellers — first-time move-up buyers and a down-sizers — are keeping things especially hot right where most people live: in the middle price range.
"There is a scarcity of listings. In our average price range of $153,000-$239,000, we currently we have a 2.1-month supply of single-family-detached properties. Last year at this time we had a 2.5 month supply," said Becky Ivins, broker-owner of Movers Real Estate Co., 6905 NW 122.
Demand is keeping prices rising, she said.
"Here’s an example: A seller came to me asking about my Instant Purchase Program. He had already talked to a couple of 'I Buy Houses' companies. I listed his house for more than double his highest offer," Ivins said. "We got 21 offers in less than 24 hours and landed on a final purchase price of $51,000 above list price. That’s four times the amount that he was offered originally.
"You know, I buy houses. He was interested in what I would pay him. But, the right thing to do was for me to list his house and get him the true market price. This client, like so many others, is giddy with excitement about his bottom line."
Sales through April compared to last year were up 4%, at 6,660, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. New listings were up 9.4%, at 8,179, the Realtors said.
The average sale price for the first four months of the year was $218,726, up 6.6%, and the median price was $184,750, up 5.6%, according to the Realtors.
It took 51 days to sell on average, compared to 57 in January-April of 2018, the Realtors reported.
"Buyers are saying that they have to pay top dollar, many times above list price and above appraisal price," Ivins said. "That means it requires more cash out of pocket. For the most part, sellers are still paying an average of $5,000 of the buyer’s closing costs.
"Sellers are unrealistically thinking that this upward trend in sales prices will continue. My concern is that at some point every bubble bursts. If you are thinking about selling your home, do it now. If you are able to buy in the $400,000-and-up range, there are so many bargains available right now."
In the Edmond market area, April ended with 1,282 sales for the year, six more than in the same period last year, said Brian Preston, sales associate with RE/MAX at Home, 3224 South Broadway Suite 225.
"Listings in the lower price ranges are getting hard to find, with only 10 active listing total prices at $150,000 and below," he wrote in his blog, Preston Report, at www.Edmond4sale.com. He noted that 50 homes in that price range were under contract at April's end.
The average sale price in April in Edmond fell below $300,000 for the first time this year, he said.
"But we only had one $1 million-plus home close in April compared to an average of five a month the first three months, and some big ones at that," Preston said. "The year-to-date average is still over $300,000, and our year-to-date median price is at $249,750."
For their part, metro-area homebuilders continued to build back from their 2016 slump.
Builders started 1,686 new houses through April, an increase of 2.7% compared with the first four months of last year, in Oklahoma City, unincorporated Oklahoma County, Bethany, Blanchard, Choctaw, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Noble, Norman, Shawnee and Yukon, according to The Builder Report by Norman-based Dharma Inc.
Starts increased for that period for the third year in a row.
"Demand is really high right now so I don’t anticipate a slowdown until the fourth quarter. We see strong sales in our new home neighborhoods across the metro, especially in our neighborhoods with homes under $200,000," said Steve Shoemaker, vice president of sales and marketing at Ideal Homes of Norman. "Furthermore, low inventory in the used-home market has increased buyer interest in new homes."
Builders could stand an extended dry to make up lost time from frequent heavy rains this spring, said Caleb McCaleb, owner of McCaleb Homes in Edmond.
"I think we will see increased new home starts once the weather dries up and we can be productive again," he said.
McCaleb called 2019 "a good year so far with new home starts the best since 2015 year to date. We are seeing great new home sales so far in prices under $500,000 and seeing slower activity on homes in the high price points. As always, Oklahoma City is an energy-based economy and when the energy sector rises, well, 'A rising tide lifts all boats.' ”