Practically everyone has heard the encouraging news about the upswing in sales in February this year. An increase of 2.9% in number of sales over last year is definitely a positive. The second part of the news story is that this change has occurred because sellers have decreased their prices significantly arousing interest in buyers.
A large part of this price decrease has occurred because lenders have finally realized they have to accept short sale terms on house sales or end up being the owners of a large amount of real estate! The only way for lenders to avoid large real estate acquisitions through foreclosure is to become cooperative short sale negotiators. In like manner, real estate agents nationally, and in St. Paul, are becoming experts in short sales.
What does this mean for today's real estate market? As I've stated before, a large number of houses on the market are vacant. Lower prices because of short sales or foreclosures is a good deal for St. Paul home buyers. The glitch is whether the buyer is willing to wait while the seller's lender goes through the short sale process. In some cases the short sale negotiation can take weeks or months. The more patient the buyer, the more likely other buyers will drop out of the transaction leaving the most patient one as the winner.
Another quirky change that has resulted from the mass of short sales and foreclosed properties for sale is a new marketing statement. In the last few weeks, St. Paul listings have appeared in my searches with these words in the agent remarks: "Not a short sale . . . no waiting . . . NOT corporate owned . . . ," etc. The market has quickly identified a private home seller as an anomaly and is proclaiming the advantages of quick decision making by the private home seller.