Third Quarter, 1998
The First Half in Review
The first half of 1998 continued the strong Sellers' Market that began in early 1997. Inventory levels remain low- MLS quarterly listings have fallen almost every quarter since early 1996, down 11% so far this year. The number of sales declined almost 8% during the first 6 months of 1998. For South Santa Barbara County, median prices have risen 18%.
My Expectations for the Second Half of 1998
Although I would continue to characterize the local market as a strong Sellers market, we are seeing many, if not most, new Sellers with unrealistic price expectations. In turn, properties are lasting longer on the market than in the previous 18 months, allowing inventory levels to begin to build up again. The economy is still prospering, interest rates are very favorable, and consumer confidence towards real estate is still good. Reasonably priced properties should continue to sell well throughout 1998. however, overpriced listings probably will not. i expect prices to remain relatively constant for the remainder of the year.
Value Range Marketing
I have been asked frequently my opinion on "value range marketing" (properties are listed indicating the Seller will entertain offers within a certain price range). I feel that this passing fad is not effective, and agents/companies who try to secure listings by utilizing this practice are doing a great disservice to both their clients and to prospective Buyers. Please use your common sense if you are considering using this gimmick.