What Does “Low Inventory” Even Mean?
What Does “Low Inventory” Even Mean?
by Kim Finley, Realtor

And what does low inventory mean for you, the buyer or seller?

I have a few buyers I am working with right now who have specific needs in their next homes, like most buyers. They are approved, and ready to make a decision. But they are frustrated by the limited selection I am showing them due to Hampton Roads low inventory of homes on the market. They keep asking me “isn’t there anything else? Are you sure you are showing us everything? Are there other websites we should be looking at?”


Keeping Current Matters has a helpful graphic

No dear buyer, there are not, and I am as frustrated as you are.

We have a low inventory situation now and for the foreseeable future (see the helpful graphic by Keeping Current Matters) which gives us a “sellers market.” Due to factors such as the political landscape, local job stability, and consumer caution we here in Hampton Roads are just not seeing the volume of home sellers that we are used to, particularly in the most popular price ranges ($225,000-$325,000) and in the most popular school districts. And if people are not choosing to sell, then there are fewer homes on the market to buy. Period.

And yet sellers need to not celebrate this market too much either. Prices are holding at reasonable rates with none of the crazy increases we saw in 2008 pre-recession. That memory still stings enough that sellers and their agents are being very careful to price those homes for the realistic value. Buyers also are still showing an unwillingness to “settle” for something that does not meet their needs or is not in good condition. So if your home is priced properly per comps but shows poorly, has unprofessional photos on the mls, or has not been updated within the last 10 years, your home could STILL sit on the market for months.

The competition is still fierce to get your house bought, these buyers are not out of options, and many will just wait until the right home comes along.

On a good note, we are seeing more new construction builds happening with builders and developers, both large and small. Everything from 2 bedroom condos to half-million dollar sprawling homes will be hitting the market in 2018, which makes this Realtor very happy! If re-sale continues to be limited in choices, builders and flippers are rushing in to fill the gap, and that is good for our local economy as well. While you still have to do your due diligence as a home buyer in terms of inspections and builder reputation, a new construction buy can be a great experience and a good financial decision as well.

Consider as well that more people tend to put their homes on the market as weather moves into Spring and Summer, particularly folks with children who have to change schools; they often prefer to move over the summer to let the children start school at the beginning of the school year in September. As the air warms up so does the market, with a greater selection of homes to choose from. So the good news for sellers in first quarter of 2018 is that there is much reduced competition for a home buyer’s attention, and if your home is in good condition and in a desirable location you should sell quickly.

Average times for homes to sell right now in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach is just 31 days , per REIN. That is really fast; by comparison January of 2017 average list time to sell was was 90 days.

I hope that helps you buyers and sellers understand the struggle your Agent is having trying to find you the perfect home that ticks all your boxes. I promise that we are ALL working very hard to help you find your personal castle. And if you have a home to sell, call me. The time is now!

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