Arthur L. Rathell, III | Posted on Jun 27, 2022
ACNB Bank’s mortgage lending team reached out to a few realtors in Adams County recently to help assess the current status of the real estate market in our community.
First, we asked if we are in a “Buyer’s Market” or a “Seller’s Market”. All concurred that we remain in a Seller’s Market. Homeowners pursuing a sale continue to get multiple offers -- some at amounts higher than the asking price -- with the homes usually going under contract in less than 10 days. With a low inventory of homes, aggressive offers, and a minimal number of days on the market, this is considered to be a Seller’s Market.
Next, we asked how long the current housing frenzy will likely last. Most of the realtors we surveyed felt that this remains somewhat unclear. There are too many factors, one of which is the quick increase in mortgage rates. This alone is creating some hesitancy to pursue a home purchase in the short term. Also, the current state of the economy is creating some doubt and uneasiness for prospective buyers.
We then asked our local real estate experts how the pandemic has impacted the local market. One agent gave us a great perspective, as echoed by others, which highlighted the significant increase in the number of people working from home in Adams County. As a result, there is a greater need for office space within a home and this is often requested by many current buyers.
We also asked how many days a seller should expect a home to remain on the market before getting an offer. According to the April 2022 Housing Snapshot published by the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, Inc., homes have been averaging six days on the market. One of the realtors surveyed mentioned that pricing was a key factor in determining the length of time on the market. Home prices fall within brackets or ranges and how quickly a home goes under contract is often aligned with setting a competitive price and placing it within an appropriate price range.
Our next question addressed how a buyer can make an offer stand out in a Seller’s Market. In response, there are several ways that this can be accomplished including offering to pay the transfer taxes for both the buyer and seller, being flexible with a settlement or closing date, and/or waiving or limiting the terms of a home inspection. Obtaining a Pre-Approval Commitment Letter, rather than a Pre-Qualification Letter, may also set a buyer apart from others when competing on an offer for a property. With a pre-approval, the prospective buyer completes an application with a to-be-determined address that is reviewed and approved by a mortgage underwriter. A pre-qualification is usually determined by a mortgage loan officer. While the latter can be somewhat helpful, it is not as strong as a full approval when purchasing a home in a Seller’s Market.
We also asked for predictions or plans for any big changes in the area that would affect the local economy. We did not get many answers to this question as it relates specifically to Adams County. However, the realtors surveyed all concurred that the war in Ukraine, the increase in gas prices, the increase in mortgage rates, and other economic factors are truly driving home purchasing decisions at the national and local levels.
Last, we asked for perspective when a home does not go under contract as quickly as anticipated. One realtor shared that this is the time to revisit the home to determine if it’s showing well and to consider hosting an open house to get more potential homebuyers through the home. After this review and assessment, a realtor may suggest a price adjustment for consideration by the seller. Frequently, even a slight price adjustment might make a big difference. However, the best advice is not to panic or react too quickly.
Finally, if you remain committed to buying your first home or selling your current home and purchasing a new one this summer, be sure to do your homework, get expert opinions, and be prepared. Like other community banks, ACNB Bank has a team of professionals ready to assist with the mortgage lending process when you are ready to take the important step of purchasing your new home. Best wishes whenever you decide it is the right time to proceed down this path as a homeowner.