December Market Update - 2023

December Market Update - December 6, 2023

The Wausau real estate market has still been moving; however, at a much slower pace compared to the robust spring and summer markets. Multiple offers, bidding wars, and quick decisions were common in the market over the spring / summer months, higher interest rates paired with the traditional seasonality has slowed down the pace. Buyers and sellers continue to participate in the market; however, the amount of participants has gone down, which is usual for this time of year.

Amidst the slowing down of the market, home prices have remained relatively stable. Although there has not been as much competition. Sellers may be more open to accept an offer under the asking price and be willing to negotiate on their price or "ideal terms". In other words, what the home seller initially sets their asking price for (aka the listing price) that hasn’t changed much; however, sellers have been more open to accept an offer under the asking price or negotiate due to the reduced competition.

Oftentimes I get asked if it’s a good time to sell a home by owners thinking of selling. It may not be as good of a time to sell a home as it was in the spring or summer of this year where most homes would sell for at or above asking with few conditions; however, over the last few years, it’s remained a "seller's market" to sell. We don’t know what the future holds, perhaps the spring / summer market of 2024 is going to be very favorable for sellers as it has been in the past, and offer better conditions than the market does now. No one knows for sure, and many sellers are content to sell in the market today knowing that it’s still pretty good versus waiting and hoping that the spring market will offer more favorable conditions.

I tend to agree with that thinking, it’s not a bad time to sell a home and although the spring / summer may offer more favorable conditions, sellers can still expect to do well on their sale.

On the other side of the coin, home buyers purchasing a home now may have a slightly smaller inventory to choose from. There are currently 209 homes for sale in Marathon County, of those 113 are available - meaning they don’t have accepted offers on them. Home buyers may have fewer homes to select from, but also have less competition for homes. Whereas a buyer was forced to make a quick decision after viewing a home in the spring/summer market, they may have some time to think about it, get quotes for repairs, and view other options before deciding. Like we discussed, a buyer has a much higher chance of negotiating with a home seller and getting an offer accepted under the asking price in general. A buyer also has a higher chance of getting an offer accepted with conditions such as a home sale or inspection contingency during this time of year. For the most attractive homes and/or homes priced very attractively, buyers can expect they are going to still face competition and the potential for multiple offer situations. 

Home loan interest rates peaked in late October; however, have since fluctuated with a downward trend. Each borrower's qualifications are different, but I’ve heard of interest rates recently being as low as the low 6%’s, with average rates being in the 6%-7%’s for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. I have seen the rising interest rates affect individuals in what they can afford and are willing to spend; however, in most cases they haven’t taken out buyers completely from the market. A lot of buyers are comfortable purchasing a home with hopes to refinance the home when the interest rates come down at some point in the future. Many lenders believe that interest rates will stabilize through the middle of next year and then go down towards the later half of next year. 

In short, the Wausau market has slowed down and allowed for a slower pace when buying or selling, but has still remained relatively stable. As we look into 2024, my intuition says that we won’t see any major changes to the real estate market. I don’t anticipate a large drop in prices or a major hike in prices. There is still a strong buyer demand and high number of home buyers looking to purchase - with slightly higher interest rates I think we’ll see a more balanced market between buyers and sellers.

A market that looks a little closer to what we are seeing now vs the typical spring / summer market of the past. That’s my two cents, but of course we’ll have to wait and see.

If you have questions about your specific goals in your sale or purchase, feel free to reach out. I'm happy to connect. Austin Solomon, 715-212-4693.

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