Real estate is a roller coaster for most agents: tough market conditions, personnel issues and fierce competition can leave any agent or other entrepreneur feeling defeated.
An increasing number of agents are exiting the industry because of these roller coaster conditions. After 11 years of good market conditions, a lot of agents don’t have experience working in a real estate recession, and they have not made their businesses recession-proof. This means they will go find jobs outside of the real estate business.
In contrast, while the agent population shrinks we can expect to see real estate teams grow. Struggling agents may try to partner up and deliver better value to their clients to remain competitive in this tech-focused market.
What’s ahead in 2023
For agents who do stick out the tough times, they’ll find that 2023 will be a year full of surprises in the real estate market. However, one thing we can continue to count on is higher interest rates being the new normal, at least during the first half of 2023. Since rising interest rates have not done much to stave off high inflation, many experts are estimating that we will see interest rates drop in the third or fourth quarter of next year. If the interest rates do drop and get closer to 5%, agents can expect a mini-boom in which the low rates will re-inspire housing demand significantly and boost overall sales.
A lack of supply has characterized the past five years and agents will continue to face low supply in 2023. This trend continues because we have been under building for 15 years and trade supply issues have delayed building even further. We will also see lower supply because more homeowners may choose not to sell while they enjoy the low-interest rates that they locked in during 2020 and 2021.
The current market is hanging by a thread, but we are not going to see a total housing market crash because people still have to move. People still have to live somewhere. Agents must shift their strategy to one that is all about the long-term buyer. Today’s homebuyers and sellers have genuine real estate needs such as death, divorce, illness, relocation and job loss, to name a few. The key will be to monitor your local market as not all markets are the same. There are some markets that still favor the seller and others that are heavy buyer markets.
Other changes on the horizon
While supply regains strength and interest rates remain high, agents e may see more homes taken off the market and listed for rent instead.If your sellers aren’t getting the price point they need, they may view renting out the property as a viable option. However, those rental prices will decrease as there may be an influx of rental supply. If you are working specifically in the rental market, expect to see properties listed for more affordable rent. You can remind your clients that paying rent is still paying a mortgage —just someone else’s.
Price brackets will experience different challenges in 2023 as well. There are certain price segments that are going to do better than others. For example, homes priced at $600,000 and below are most influenced by mortgage rates. There will be less price negotiation, more rate buy-downs and more seller concessions.
Meanwhile, homes priced over $1,000,000 are least influenced by mortgage rates. There is more price negotiation and fewer concessions on these transactions, so we can expect to see luxury properties continue to thrive despite the cooling market.
Agents can also expect to see longer “days on market” in 2023. No longer will your buyers be competing with 30 other offers. They have more time and choices, and the fear that buyers could miss out on a home entirely is gone. Encourage your buyers to take their time in 2023 to find the home that is right for them, because of the lack of equity growth to come, today’s buyers should be looking for a long-term home.
In markets with iBuyers agents will see those companies offload more supply because they ended up over-leveraging acquired properties based on their proprietary home valuation algorithms. iBuyers are still purchasing at some price points, but they are not as aggressive as they were before. Agents should be prepared to market themselves as having the ‘human touch’ compared to iBuyers. These companies have come up against a lot of resistance due to recent accusations of false advertising. Sellers may see the appeal of saving on realtor commissions when selling with an iBuyer. But, the convenience and better offers of working with a traditional agent are on your side.
Staying the Course
Navigating the 2023 market means working closely with your clients and team. That includes the lender your homebuyers and sellers have chosen! In 2023, your clients are going to be focused on monthly payments, wealth building and the long-term strategy.
Despite a challenging market, there are deals to be had in 2023. Agents are the experts that homebuyers and sellers need, and they must keep up with the trends to continue working with confidence.
Jennifer Wehner is the founder of The Wehner Group in Scottsdale, Arizona and author of “The Renaissance Real Estate Agent.”
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.
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