Roller Coaster of Markets

by Karen Briscoe
July 21, 2016

n the summer months many people enjoy visiting theme parks for recreation. Riding the roller coasters was one of our kids’ favorite amusement park activities. The highs and lows and twists and turns made for an adventurous ride. The real estate market too has highs and lows and twists and turns. No matter how long you have been riding it, there are some parts that you can anticipate and others that can take you by surprise.

When the market is in an upward trajectory, the climb is filled with great expectation. Sellers may be seeing price appreciations never experienced before. Many wonder when the crest will be reached and try to time when to jump on for the ride.

For Buyers rising prices creates urgency, they want to get in the market prior to being priced out of it. Also they want to take advantage of future price appreciation. Buyers too can be filled with excitement of the potential of gains. At the same time though many express concern of not wanting to be left behind paying top dollar when the market turns.

The crest and downward cycle almost always happens much faster than the uphill ride. At this juncture both Sellers and Buyers can feel their stomach drop. Sellers many times beat themselves up over not moving fast enough to catch the air present at the top. The challenge of trying to time the top is that in most markets, the peak exists only for a very brief time. For all of a sudden the course is reversed and turns downward.

Once a market reaches the top and begins descending, Buyers then wonder, “how low can it go”? In this market cycle Buyers are hesitate to purchase as can be worried if they do then the home may be worth less tomorrow or the next day.

The level of inventory for any given segment determines what type of market it is: Sellers’, Buyers’ market or balanced market. A Sellers’ market is one where there is high demand and low inventory for the segment. A Buyers’ market is the opposite, low demand and high inventory. Balanced markets as discussed above typically don’t stay that way for long. When it is balanced, that is the occasion where in any given segment the same number of homes sold and under contract is the same as what is on the active market to buy and those coming soon.

Markets are constantly changing and thus the ride can be both exhilarating and nerve racking for agents and their clients.

Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy and their team HBC Group at Keller Williams are active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington, DC market place. We are happy to help clients enjoy a smooth ride, whether for home buying or selling. Please contact via the means most convenient for you:, 703-734-0192,

Karen Briscoe is Principal of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) and author of "Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day". She is an Associate Broker in Virginia, a Certified Luxury Home Market Specialist, and a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors. Karen began her real estate career developing residential lots with the Trammel Crow Company in Dallas, and in commercial real estate with The Staubach Company in the Washington, DC Metro area. Karen has a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University and her BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – her hometown.
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