As real estate professionals, we know that our skill at pricing homes can make or break our chance at securing listings. And despite what others may tell us, it’s not as easy as doing another comparative market analysis (CMA).
When you’re a master of these five elements, both nationally and locally, you’re going to capture every listing you want to win.
Stat #1: Home Sales (Up/Down YOY)
The first stat is simply home sales—looking at whether they’re up or down in this particular month compared to the same month last year. Because we recognize the cyclical nature of the real estate market, it’s important to compare the same moment in time as the previous year. Then, we can add significant value for our clients with our interpretation of this data. For example, if we see an annual pace of home sales somewhere between 5M and 5.5M homes, that’s the sweet spot, because homes are selling at a sustainable pace.
Stat #2: Median Home Price
Median home price is the second stat we’ll track every month. Notice this is “median,” not “average.” Looking at median versus average price eliminates any skewing of extremes on either end. Make sure you know what this figure is every month and, in addition, track whether this price is up or down compared to the same time last year.
Stat #3: Market Inventory in Months
The next stat you’ll need to roll off the top of your head is market inventory. The point of market equilibrium is when there’s a six-month level of inventory. This indicates that there’s an equal pressure from both supply and demand. You’ll see when you start to dig deeper that we have been in a tighter inventory market in the last year or so. And according to Realtor.com, inventory is forecasted to increase nominally in 2019, but only for higher end homes in some markets; entry-level buyers will still face a lack of supply. It will be interesting to see what this “sellers’ market” looks like this year.
Stat #4: Mortgage Rates
We know that mortgage rates are in a constant state of adjustment, and that they’ve adjusted upward within the last year. We need to be able to communicate the impact of that mortgage rate shift to consumers. We can all recognize that when mortgage rates go up, it may not be advantageous to either buyer or seller, but consumers may not know exactly to what degree. One formula I use that helps me communicate this to consumers: A quarter of a point shift in mortgage rate—whether up or down—has an impact of about $10,000 in buying power, otherwise known as equity power. Know your rates and how those impact sellers!
Stat #5: Affordability Index
The last stat is what I call the Great Indicator. The Affordability Index is what enables us to anticipate both the speed and the trajectory of the market. It’s the percentage of gross household income that’s needed to cover the principal and interest of a median-priced home. In a nutshell: When interest rates change, prices change, household income changes, mortgage rates increase or decrease—it’s all going to be mixed into “the sauce” of affordability.
Now that we’ve covered the five core stats every agent should know, commit to making these numbers a discipline in your life. At consultations with sellers, have these stats at the ready, along with any notes or points of interest. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) releases national information around the 21st of every month. For local information (based on your county or a particular town), pull from the MLS or other sources to build and update this information consistently.
These five stats are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of developing a pricing strategy that will help you win every listing.
To dramatically increase the number of listings you win in 2019, join me and a group of motivated students in a groundbreaking six-week training, “Win Every Listing in 2019.” It begins on January 24. This class is filling up fast; register now below.