Grassland Monthly Real Estate Recap: September 2020

October 19, 2020


How in the world is it already mid-October!?!? And just like that, as the sun has set on September and the Williamson County Real Estate numbers are released, I’ve got another Real Estate Recap for Grassland.

Sure, we can do a bit of a dance! Sellers and Buyers are both winning right now as mortgage rates remain low and inventory is still far below demand.

But There’s a Catch

What’s an ocean without waves? Or a cloudless sunset every day? Not real life.

And just as the tide ebbs and flows, so does our Real Estate market. Sure, prices are still high because inventory and mortgage rates are still low. But there’s a shift happening in Buyers mindsets right now. I’m starting to see it just within the past week or so. It seems like Buyers are more heavily scrutinizing the appearance and maintenance of homes. They want something move-in ready with little-to-no updating required to suit their tastes. I’m suspecting this behavior is brought on by the upcoming election and the uncertainty this potentially presents in our country. Regardless of who loses, about half of the country will be MAD and Buyers want to be able to hunker down immediately in the safety of their new home without worrying about renovations.

Are Buyers still out there? In droves. 

Are they still paying full price? Absolutely.

But they want to do as little work as possible on the home they’re buying. And if they have to do any work, they expect a major discount on the home price.

A Politics-Fueled Bubble-Pop?

Just this morning, I was speaking with another Agent who told me her Buyers are wanting to get under contract on a home ASAP.. but they’re having a really hard time offering full-price for anything because they’re afraid the Real Estate market will crash after the election and they’ll be underwater on their new home. Basically, they think it’ll be another 2008 Recession, and they’ll be left holding the bag.

She and I both agree that’s a hard NO. Here’s why: It’s just not the same circumstances!

The Great Recession was a housing crisis fueled by poor lending practices. Basically, lenders were loaning too much money to people who couldn’t afford it, so we saw huge amounts of foreclosures, short sales and homes For Sale the minute anyone’s financial boat was rocked — and all at the same time — which caused us to have more homes on the market than we had Buyers for. (A supply vs. demand issue) It turned into a major Buyers market, which lowered home values and those who *had* to sell lost large chunks of money.

What we’re experiencing now is the exact opposite. This is a Recession brought on by Covid19, Stay-Home orders and phased reopening plans. And what that did to the Real Estate market was delay our spring Buying market, scare sellers from listing their homes For Sale and cause even more people to want to move here from highly populated areas as more people started working from home. So we have pent-up demand from the delay in our busiest Real Estate season, we have fewer homes For Sale because Sellers on the fence decided not to sell or delay selling, and we have more Buyers than ever because even more people want to *and can* move here now. (The exact opposite supply vs. demand issue). This is why our prices are so high, and why there’s no expectation of a “bubble pop” regardless of who is the next President. As long as we have more Buyers than we have homes For Sale, our values will continue increasing. And most predictions show it’ll be another year or so before they start slowing down in value increases or leveling out, but we likely won’t see another “pop” in our lifetime like what we saw during the Great Recession. (Those bad lending practices have dramatically changed since then).

Remarkable Increases in Grassland Home Values

Perhaps the ONLY thing our Real Estate market has in common right now with the Great Recession is opportunity. This is a really great time to buy and sell, and we’ll be able to tell 10 years from now who played their cards right and took advantage of it.

Take a look at these numbers released by Williamson County Association of Realtors:

Comparing September 2019 to September 2020, there is a major increase in home values county-wide.

The median home price in September 2019 was $508,000. The median home price in September 2020 was $600,000. That’s a 15% increase in Williamson County’s home prices year-to-year!

To put this into perspective, what we normally see in the Real Estate industry, and are pleased with, are 3% home value increases year-to-year.

Let’s hone in on our specific pockets of Williamson County and how they compare:

  • Homes zoned for Grassland Middle School: $446,450 (2019) —-> $650,000 (2020) = A 33% increase!
  • Franklin homes: $513,814 (2019) —-> $600,000 (2020) = A 14% increase!
  • Brentwood homes: $785,000 (2019) —-> $879,500 (2020) = An 11% increase!

So, back to the “bubble pop” talk… Even if we see a decrease in this rate of growth (which I’m sure we will at some point), having only a 3% increase in our values would still be considered healthy. There is even a chance that in future years we’ll see zero rate increase year-to-year. But it’s hard to find any credible source predicting a negative percent in our value changes year-to-year in the foreseeable future.

Additional Grassland Stats

September proved to be consistent with what we’ve been seeing in our Real Estate market the past several months. Usually we see some relaxation in the Buying frenzy as kids get back into school and try to re-settle into the school routine. But for obvious reasons, we didn’t experience this in September 2020.

September 2020 in Grassland:

  • Median Square Footage: 3,248 (4 beds / 3.5 baths) +754sf from 2019
  • Median year built: 1997  1998 in 2019
  • Median Sales price to List price Ratio: 100% (this means homes sold exactly for their list price) +1.26% from 2019
  • Median Days on Market: 3 -14 from 2019
  • Number of homes sold: 39 +1 from 2019

Game Planning

All this information is something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of selling soon here in the Grassland market.

This home represents our median home sold last month here in Grassland.

It’s a sweet 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with just over 3,700 square feet. You see the picture of the kitchen — completely updated. The whole house was updated, and it only stayed on the market for 3 days before going under contract. It ended up closing September 14th at $660,000. Just pretend this home were on the market last year, it may have been priced in the high-$400’s/low-$500s.

Its value may not have that rate of increase by September 2021, but it likely won’t lose its value. And the Fed is doing everything it can to keep our economy stable. Churchill mortgage announced, “To avoid wild movements in the market, the Fed announced on September 16, 2020, that interest rates will be low for an extended period of time.” The projection is through 2023.

Our opportunity right now as Sellers in Grassland is cashing in on our value increases (equity), and using your suddenly-higher equity + crazy-low interest rates to give you more buying power for your next home. Churchill Mortgage breaks it down: “For every 1/8 percent (or 0.125 percent) drop of interest rate, there is about a 2-percent increase in what buyers can afford right now.” They say this means if you could initially afford the mortgage payment on a $500,000 home, you could afford a home priced at $565,000 if rates dropped just 0.125 percent!

All this may not exactly be a sunset at the beach, but it’s looking pretty good to me!

If you’re thinking of selling or buying a home, I’m happy to help you and give you honest advice. I’m a Grassland area resident and I’m a Platinum Award-winning Williamson County REALTOR® ranking in the top 2%. My business partner and I have been featured on TV and our success is the topic of an article in the July 2020 edition of Nashville Real Producers magazine. But most importantly, I specialize in helping my friends and neighbors buy and sell homes!