In a recent article originally published at money.com, Brenda Richardson discussed with 9 experts in the housing industry the intense demand for home sales in the U.S. and what the foreseeable future will likely hold for the real estate industry and for people looking to buy or build a new home.
While you can read the original article in its entirety here, we’ve condensed some key takeaways for those looking to build or buy a new house in Morgantown and the surrounding areas of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
1. Time on Market.
“On average [nationally], newly listed properties remained on the market for 22 days in August, down from 31 days in August 2019. Sixty-nine percent of homes sold in August 2020 were on the market for less than a month.”
The housing market in Morgantown has always moved fast. As the unofficial economic and cultural hub of West Virginia—thanks in a large part to West Virginia University, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, NIOSH, 2 hospital systems, and a handful of other large employers in the area—talented people from all over the world have relocated their families to the Morgantown area.
Many of these jobs are relatively high-paying positions for the area, allowing for larger, more expensive housing options to slowly dominate the listings in the area. Because of this, homes in the “sweet spot”— with prices ranging from $200,000-$400,000—tend to get snatched up quickly and with little room for price negotiation.
“Buyers are moving forward in record numbers, unfazed by inventory challenges and consistently higher prices. Homeowners in a position to sell are seizing the opportunity and benefiting from the one-two combination of enthusiastic, competitive buyers.”
The real estate market in the Morgantown area is truly a seller’s market, and the low mortgage rates (link) have only increased the frenzy in which buyers are singing contracts for homes in that $200,000-$400,000 “sweet spot” price range. One real estate attorney in the area commented: “I’ve never seen this volume in my entire career—the sheer numbers of new mortgages and refis are staggering. Honestly, we’re just trying to keep up.”
While low rates are allowing buyers to get more home for their money than before, buyers often find that the “sweet spot” homes end up being “fixer-uppers,” having to put a significant amount of additional money into the home after purchase in order to make it fit their needs and tastes.
One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is by purchasing land and building a new custom home, designed with your needs and tastes in mind. At Vision Homes, we’ve been building custom homes in Morgantown and the surrounding areas of WV and PA for over 25 years, so if you’d like to explore this option, we’d love to talk to you!
3. The “New Normal”
“As we enter another season, and continue to navigate a new normal, people will continue to reevaluate space, options and quality of life. Parents are not constrained by timelines, like moving before the school year starts. More companies are offering remote options. And Millennials, the largest homebuying segment, are being joined in the market by Gen Z.”
As divided as the country is right now, the one thing we can all agree on is that our lives have changed. Businesses have been forced to embrace remote working situations, and in many cases have adopted this as a long-term strategy. Schools are offering remote learning for students of all ages. Many of the “usual” options for entertainment is not longer available, with restrictions on movie theaters, sporting events, concerts, and other places where large groups of people normally gather.
This has placed entire families in their homes for much longer periods of time than what they are used to. A smaller home was fine when everyone was gone most of the time, but now that space is being shared by adults trying to work from home and children trying to learn from home, people are discovering that it’s tough to find a quiet space to be productive.
“2020 has caused many people to re-evaluate the importance of home and what they want in a home. As people and families continue to do it all in their space — working, schooling, living, playing — new priorities have emerged. Whether it’s a home office, additional recreation space or an improved backyard, people are looking for features that may not have been a priority to them nine months ago.”
One of the most popular driving factors for buying a new home is simply the need for more space, or a better use of space. The challenge we see with buying an existing home is that the home was built with another family in mind, so an existing home will often not be “just right.” It will need renovations, modifications, additions, and even structural improvements in order to truly make it your own.
This is why we encourage homebuyers to talk to an experienced and reputable home builder—for the price of an existing home in the area that’s 20-60+ years old and in need of renovation, we can design and build a brand new home that fits your unique needs, budget, and taste.
While affordable, buildable land in the Morgantown area is relatively difficult to come by, we have a number of options and are always working to secure land for our customers. From “scatter lots”—random property scattered throughout neighborhoods and in more rural areas—to several planned communities like Braden Place and Frederick Place, We can help you find a great piece of land to build your forever home!
4. Selling Your “Now Home” to buy your “Forever Home”
“All of the factors currently driving demand will continue to play out through the end of the year. Interest rates make it a great time to buy and low inventory makes it a great time to sell. That one-two punch will continue to influence a very active market.”
You may be thinking: “I’d love to build a new home and get more space for my family to do all things we need and want to do. I know rates are crazy-low. But I already have a mortgage, and we already have this house. I’m stuck.”
The very reason that it’s tough for buyers to find what they want in the existing real estate market makes it a perfect time to list your home for sale. Demand is high, rates are low, and people are putting homes under contract quickly. It’s a seller’s market. So if your current house isn’t the home you want, now is an excellent time to sell it an upgrade to a house you’re proud to call home.
Putting it All Together
It seems like everyone wants to buy a house right now, and rightfully so. But with the Morgantown area real estate market offering limited options for folks looking for a home in the $200,000-$400,000 rice range, your best bet is to talk to a reputable and experienced custom home builder who will design a build a home to suit your needs, budget, and style.
At Vision Homes, we’ve been building custom homes for over 25 years. With over 500 happy customers living in and around Morgantown WV, we’d be proud to build you a house you’re proud to call home.
Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss what you are looking for—we look forward to talking with you!