Is the housing market slowing down in as we head into the last quarter of 2021?
And what does the market look like in 2022?
It's a question that countless analyst and talking heads speculate about. While everyone has their opinions, we turned to the folks on the ground who live and breathe the housing market every day.
No, we're not talking about real estate agents.
Tried and tested, home inspectors often have a broad view of the housing market. Home inspectors frequently talk to contractors of all sorts, and have a good read on the first signs of a slowdown or pickup in the market. They are also objective, having no stake in the sale of a home.
We asked more than 4,000 home inspectors about their current read on the market and what they are preparing for going into the fall and beyond. Here's what some of them told us:
"We serve the Tulsa and OKC, OK, and Des Moines, IA areas. Throughout 2021, what we experienced in all three markets was a drop in the inventory of homes, on top of homebuyers waiving the inspection in order to present a competitive offer. We did our best to educate and encourage the Realtors working with us to do what was best for the homebuyer by not waiving the inspection, nonetheless, we did experience a drop in sales, as did many of our industry colleagues as everyone involved in the transaction was doing their best to keep up with the pace and landscape of the unprecedented seller's market. As for the remainder of the year, we are bracing for an all-time low inventory of homes. Our Des Moines partners have already expressed concern for navigating a slow winter, in response our game plan is to push hard in OKC and Tulsa as those markets don't experience the harsh winters that tend to slow down markets in the North."
"Lack of inventory has definitely slowed things a bit. Prices are still rising albeit at a slower pace than over the past 18 months.
Our take is that this will continue to be the case for another year or two because the demand simply is not slowing.
Buyers are looking to other markets to the north, such as Martin and St Lucie counties, as well. More house and more grass for the money. These burgeoning markets will present opportunities to expand for inspection firms that are geared up and willing to do the leg work required. As we see it, Competency and Top-notch Service for both clients and agents will be the difference. Agents that were doing 3 deals per month are doing 1-2 deals every 3 months. The go getters that did 70-100 deals over the last year and a half are still gonna get their 2-3 each month."
"Sellers market is still alive and well but cresting. Our schedule remains packed so we increased fees 20% in April and shrunk our service area. This has also filtered out the price shoppers and lead to higher quality, low risk clientele. We have reconciled that we can't capture all the inspections and have settled into less stress while maintaining excellent margins."
"The market has clearly slowed down from its height of craziness. And this is actually a good thing, as people are getting back to ordering inspections, and weighing their options, as opposed to just making offers on whatever is available and waiving inspections. We've even had the return of clients ordering multiple inspections. But despite being slower than it was, the market is still relatively strong. Demand for houses is still there, as are low-interest rates. We are having a record year, and I expect that to continue through the 4th quarter."
"In the greater Boston area it is still a seller’s market, especially for single family homes. It is still common for buyers to waive inspections to be competitive, there are still bidding wars, and so on, but that wave has crested. Pre-offer walk-throughs have been declining as well. Word from multiple agents in the area is that inventory for condos in particular has loosened up noticeably, and inspections for those are becoming more common, including offers with contingencies which was unusual several months ago. The same is true for single family homes, but to a lesser extent, it seems. There is still a portion of work in post-closing consultations because of prior waived inspections, and that ripple effect will continue in the near term."
"I do simple lead and water tests onsite and 3rd party asbestos/mold lab tests."
"Pool leak detection, sewer scope, mold inspection, we do it all to serve our clients better."
"Being flexible and getting every certification we can. Termite, thermal imaging, pool."
"Educating realtors on inspection value besides negotiations. Not offering "walk n' talks."
Are you a home inspector? An agent or homebuyer? Is the housing market slowing down from your perspective?