Patience and Planning

Advice for buyers and sellers today and beyond By Joshua Nishimoto

real estate planning

While Sandpoint continues to be a beautiful and desirable place to live, we must remember that for the housing market, the only constant is change. To help us navigate the constant ebb and flow of the North Idaho housing market, this month we discuss current and future trends for buyers and sellers in the Sandpoint (and surrounding) area with real estate agent Brent Stevens.


“The current housing market in Sandpoint remains to be hot,” Stevens said. “However, lack of inventory and continued price increases have made it difficult for a lot of buyers to participate.”


With an available buyer pool, we may see more and more people waiting patiently for the market to turn, or more and more buyers looking to take out loans to afford housing in the area. While the climate of the current real estate market continues to belong to the seller, according to Stevens, we are seeing some minute changes on that end as well.


“We are actually starting to see a lot of sellers on the fence about selling because of how hot the market is,” Stevens said. “Coming up with a transition plan is difficult once they go from seller to buyer.”


Whether buying or selling your home, Stevens suggests that it is very important to choose a good and experienced real estate agent who is effective in communicating, knows the market in your area, has a good approach to marketing your property, and is available to show your property and present offers at a moment’s notice. The opportunity to go from buyer to seller can be exciting, but also daunting in the current market.


“Although price is important, it is not the only factor that affects one’s decision to sell,” Stevens said. “Some other factors to consider are what your transition plan is and how it will impact negotiating offers, how much time you need to initiate and execute your transition plan, and how contingencies of your home sale might impact your transition plan.”


While buying and selling a home is still currently hot, some current housing market trends regarding higher interest rates have begun to spike, or “tick up,” as Stevens puts it. It’s a trend that Stevens said will continue for the next few years with hopes that it doesn’t put too much stress on the market.


“For the month of March, we should see a continued trend of the market slowly stabilize,” Stevens said. “We should also see the increase of interest rates creating apprehension amongst buyers.”


With the lack of affordable resources on top of supply, demand, and the pandemic, another trend we are currently seeing is not only a lack of inventory, but the amount of labor and available resources to be hard to come by, showing that the current trend of fewer and fewer vacant properties for sale now will continue.


“I think the pace of vacant land sales will continue to slow down as we push through the pandemic,” Stevens said. “We saw a meteoric rise in number of vacant land sales from 2019 to 2020 (a 58 percent increase), and we saw this soften from 2020 to 2021 (a 12 percent decrease).”


On the other end, with inventory being historically low, now presents great opportunity for folks to sell their homes. While this is not always the case, as Stevens suggests, some annual drop-off in buyer interest for the month of November, it behooves both buyer and seller to keep an eye on the market and not make any rash decisions.


“Although I don’t have a crystal ball, it’s hard to imagine the trajectory of pricing to continue its aggressive upward path, so I would guess that it should start to level off and remain steady for a few years,” Stevens said. “I would be surprised to see any significant fall off just based on the number of folks still looking to move here. The wildcard could be what happens with inflation, construction costs/material shortages and the Federal Reserve’s handling of interest rates.”

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