DALLAS — Through the wild pandemic ups and downs in our housing market, there has been a constant: We have been checking in regularly with Real Estate Broker Joe Atkins at Joe Atkins Realty about what he's been seeing on the ground. Here are just some of our conversations with him from 2020, this one and this one from 2021, and 2022.
Home price decreases?!
In our latest talk, Atkins started saying things we haven't heard in a good while. For instance, he mentioned home price decreases! "That wasn't even a word used in real estate for 18 months because everything sold. Now you're seeing more price decreases at this point than I think we've probably seen since the pandemic.”
For many months, a lot of buyers have been regularly paying well above asking price, waiving appraisal contingencies, and basically accepting all the seller's demands.
Atkins says things are definitely changing now, “I mean I had a deal last month where we got it for under asking price, we didn't sign an appraisal waiver, and the seller paid the title policy. Oh, guess what? We also worked in a home warranty!"
Still a 'seller's market', but less so than several months ago
Atkins notes that months ago, real estate agents representing buyers were reaching out desperately to real estate agents representing sellers asking them what they required to get the home, because often, many people were lining up to take part in bidding wars over the same house.
Now, Atkins says showings have been less crowded, and that agents representing sellers are starting to call agents representing buyers after they see the property to see if they are interested in making an offer.
Now just to be clear, it doesn’t always go like that. Home prices here are still historically high. And if a house is in good condition and priced right with the help of a real estate agent, it is still generally selling quickly, possibly after getting competing offers.
Even as the market eases from the frenzy we were seeing earlier this year, Atkins is encountering plenty of people moving to North Texas and in need of housing, “I'm still getting calls from people relocating, so none of that has changed”.
But Atkins says the almost auction-like bidding wars that caused some of his buyers months ago to say drop out of the search for a home has now died down a lot…to the point where some who quit are telling him they want back into the house hunt.
A caution to home sellers
If you are looking to sell your home, Atkins says you shouldn’t rely on the exploding prices the North Texas market was experiencing in the first quarter of the year. It's still a seller's market, but not the frenzied one you may have seen when your neighbor sold five months ago. Atkins cautions that was them and that was then.
For those pricing their homes for sale now, he stresses, “Price matters! If I can tell everybody: This is a very price-sensitive market and you need to price appropriately.” He strongly suggests you listen to your real estate agent when setting the price.
What about new construction?
Not that long ago, we were hearing of new home buyers having to get on builder waiting lists for new construction.
Atkins says just like with existing homes, times have changed quickly for new construction, too, “You are not waiting on a list with 100 other people for them to call you back. You can actually contract, same day. The builders are coming back to us, meaning they're reaching out to us, going, ‘Hey guys, we're offering incentives’. Some builder was offering up to a $25,000 incentive to buyers…that they could use for upgrades or this or that. We haven't heard of that in three years!”