The Market Peak: First Quarter 2013

In April 2006, a very bored manager of a little real estate outpost on Library Lane (yes, that is the street name) decided to stick his toe back into the kiddie pool of real estate. Between reviewing contracts and making sure sellers were signing Addendum A’s, this agent went looking at the data, remembering the puzzling and vexing questions of his client, Chandra Narumanchi, who, the previous year, had the audacity to demand to know the months of inventory in his neighborhood, and what the probability of his house selling might be.

This manager made a fateful and foolish decision. He embraced his inner nerd. He began churning out data. He began to wax eloquently (and sometimes, quite opinionatedly) about the market and it’s trends. He sent out a two page SEND-ALL email written in Word with a mess of numbers. He printed it off and distributed it at a company sales meeting. He called it “The Stat Pack.”

That month, April 2006, was also a fateful month in local real estate. It was the same month that the real estate market tipped from the gonzo insanity of “buy know or be priced out forever” (a quote from former NAR lead economist David Lereah, author of 2005’s fateful “Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust“). That single month, asking prices rose, sales prices mysteriously dipped, inventory soared and so did interest rates. By the end of June, there were 1200+ more listings for sale than the same time the year before. This Stat Pack thing just happened to launch at the same moment that the market tipped.

The Stat Pack has officially been retired. There are three reasons. The first is that my old (yes, the geek and the manager and the author are all one in the same. Back to first person singular) brokerage that I left three years ago insists on producing a document of the same name. The second is that documents suck and video, even bad video like mine, is better. The third is that the market has changed. We are now at a 13 year low in inventory. We are at the lowest supply of housing after first quarter in MLS history (3.5 months to sell through all of it). We are at the highest rate of sale in 6 years. And the house money of 3.6% interest rates is still out there.

Anything decent will not only be gone by Monday, but will have a bidding war take it out. Here are the cold hard facts in moving graphic form, narrated by yours truly:


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