So many variables impact the real estate market, both here in Silicon Valley but across the country. Employment, interest rates, the stock market, the availability of real estate inventory, the confidence of the buying public (say, in the wake of a terroristic attack as we saw 12 years ago today) all can move the housing market one way or the other.
Weather and natural disasters can likewise have a pronounced effect on a local housing market too. Anyone in the San Jose area in September of 1989 will vividly recall the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which occurred near Los Gatos. Jim and I were buying our first home at that time and in fact did our “final walk through” two hours before the quake hit. Luckily for us, that house was fully vacant since we were close to the planned close of escrow – so there was no broken glass in the carpeting and most everything was very visible and easy to check later. Our closing got delayed as the lender refused to fund the loan until the home was professionally checked out by an appraiser. (They’d seen images of the Bay Bridge and other places!) We did close, though – just about 10 days later than expected.
For listings not yet pending, that was already a slowing market, the beginning of a correction, but the earthquake plunged the market more deeply into the doldrums. At least for awhile.
On a lesser scale, it should not be a huge surprise that it’s harder to sell properties when the weather is inclement, either too hot or too cold. Last weekend was unseasonably warm for September, with temps around Santa Clara County finding their way to the high 90s and in some areas perhaps warmer still. My car recorded 100 as I left my Blossom Valley open house on Saturday afternoon. My weekend open houses were a little slow, which I attribute to the heat. Several other Realtors I spoke with had the same experience. That’s consistent with our experience.
When it’s miserably hot, or extremely rainy or cold, home buyers tend to stay home or go somewhere comfortable – the mall, the beach, the movies. We are very fortunate that here, in the Bay Area, heat waves don’t last too long and even our winter weather is relatively mild as we enjoy a sub-tropical climate. I have Realtor friends all over the country, most of them also bloggers, and many of them have much stronger buying seasons (and quieter ones) than we do. Our market tends to be pretty good year round.
So if you are selling right now and finding the traffic a little slow, hang on. The weather has already cooled and this next weekend should be better than last with temps barely grazing 80 degrees.