I’ll try to keep this article generic so that it is relevant in years to come, but in so many ways much of this information will likely be outdated before we know it. One thing is for sure, this market has had so many unexpected twists and turns that the craziness now seems to be normal, and it probably is normal until the next crazy happens… You know how it goes.
The inspiration for my article was an advertisement I saw on behalf of one of my realtor friends on social media in another area. It was something like looking to sell? It’s a great time to sell! Are you looking to buy? It’s a great time to buy as well! Of course, this could have been handled differently and they could have talked about the low interest rates for buyers and the obvious hot market for sellers but it didn’t really come out that way. From a marketing standpoint, I think it’s difficult to group everybody into one advertisement like this. Generally speaking, buyers buy when they want to buy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a seller’s market and they know it, or if it’s a buyer’s market and the value is easy to justify. I can look back through my career with dozens and dozens of potential buyers that always felt the market was overvalued. They are always going to feel that way. I can also remember buyers that seems to be making an impulse decision that didn’t seem to make sense. Sometimes that worked out, sometimes it didn’t. As always, my job is to provide data, facts, and information. Unless it is overwhelmingly clear I generally won’t answer the question of “Is it a good time to buy?”. Besides, buyers want to make their own decisions, they just want to hear straight information.
But is it a good time to sell? Is it ever a good time to sell? It depends who you ask. Most stock brokers will talk about averaging. Investments tend to increase over time, hang on, hang out and let the world do its thing. Is it a good time to sell if you don’t have anywhere to go? Not really. Is it a good time to sell if you are planning to do so? How about if you have a real estate investment that isn’t providing a great return? How about one that you are tired of maintaining or otherwise don’t need? To those questions, I would probably say, yes. Here again, probably not directly (which I seem to have done here) but I would mention some indicators that would point to the appropriate timing for such a task if it were a consideration. First, foremost and always – supply and demand. There was a weird time in October of 2020 after the craze where all of the land inventory was totally wiped out. While land in some areas has seemed to increase since then, so has the supply. As a result some land listings have stagnated despite the overall market continuing to perform well. Regardless, we saw an enormous bump in land real estate values during that time. On a side note, I’ve said this more times than I can count, land was too cheap for too long and that contributed to what happened in October. Anyway, when inventory gets tight, people tend to spend more. Getting back to the buyer thing, when people decide they want something, they pursue it and buy it. We’re all guilty of it. The starter goes out on your car. You start to have thoughts of the next thing, what’s the next big expense? You start looking at options. At that point, I would say with relative certainty, you’re probably going to buy a new car. If the automotive market seemed to be at a point where inventory was tight and things were more expensive than they should be, would you overspend to buy that car? Probably. A lot of people are looking at real estate right now, and there isn’t much available. We seem to have hit the inventory levels comparable to what we were seeing with land a year ago mentioned above. There’s also some uncertainty in the markets (although there always seems to be) and we only know what we know, now. Getting back to it, is the market going to hold? Are values going to increase? No clue. What I can tell you is that values are high, now. If you’re in that category and you’re planning on selling when the time is right, think about it.
To be clear, I am definitely not sounding any alarms. Most local real estate professionals and those with a close ear to the ground in the financial sector agree that this market still holds steam, and a lot has changed in ways from how the lending market works with protections in place to the clear indications that our little paradise has finally been discovered. Not as many people are “finding” Teton Valley through Jackson, they are traveling and investing here because we are a destination.