First time homebuyers seem to have sensed a change in the Real Estate environment - they have decided that its now or never! The tax stimulus credit of $8000 is certainly helping - however I think it gos a Little deeper.
I have always stated that buyers now know the market better than 90% of the agents who are working in the industry. I personally am seeing a reversal of roles in which buyers are sending their agents properties from my Charleston real estate search site . What value proposition are agents giving their buyers? Good question... when we start working with a new buyer we spend at least 1 hour interviewing them on their needs, expectations and what role they would like to play in the process...suprisingly once we are on board we find that the buyers truly want guidance in their decision making. We bring to the process years of real estate knowledge and real world common sense. A home is almost always going to be the biggest purchase that anyone will make in their lives - it makes sense to use a team that will guide and facilitate you through this.
With that said - buyers are sensing that we are near the bottom of the market....while most agents think that short sales are the ticket buyers are telling me from their actions that it is more the home that is driving the sale - not the bargain.... earth to Realtors - the buyers are once again ahead of the curve - With interest rates hovering at the lowest in history and sellers pricing to get a home sold I am finding surprisingly little inventory in certain price range - to clarify a little - we may start with 30 homes on the list only to quickly realize that 3-4 are actually habitable or present value to a buyer. The sub $225k market is point in case.
However the $300k and over market in certain areas is still swamped with inventory with the only huge difference between this year and last year is the absorption of new construction. West Ashley though does seem to have a few goon new construction opportunities and I expect that the builders are perhaps using a trickle onto the market strategy to ensure steady sales....great time for new construction as the builders now know that the buyer wants ~ the buyer gets. Thats not to say they'll budge much on price but a good buyers agent should be able to help a buyer negotiate for closing costs and/or upgrades.