Our CEO at Gibson Sotheby's Internation Realty, Colleen Barry reminded me this fall that national headlines about the housing market do not always apply to your market. As a realtor on the Cape, knowing what is going on in my market is the most important part of the value I bring to my customers. Communicating accurate information and providing resources for buyers and sellers during a changing market is what I can bring. We have a tremendous management team lead by Colleen that prepares us for what to expect and how to prepare. So what is going on? Real Estate Agent magazine recently interviewed Colleen to get her opinion on what to expect in the local market. Read her insights below and reach out anytime to talk real estate.
What do you expect for the overall housing market in 2023?
Colleen Barry, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty:
"Generally speaking, we expect the pricing to remain mostly flat, with small price increases in some areas. However, the number of transactions is decreasing and expected to hover around pre-pandemic levels or slightly lower. The market is mostly affected by the low supply and higher demand. We expect to see the broader market trends break up into micromarkets. Some of these will be more impacted by mortgage interest rates than others. Some will be affected by the new commute radii from the continued work-from-home trend. Others will be affected by neither.
Do you think any segments of the residential market will be better in 2023? (new construction, rural, luxury, etc.)
In 2023, new construction or move-in-ready homes will continue to outperform properties that require significant updating. Luxury properties are also expected to remain strong.
What growth, if any, do you expect for your company next year? Do you expect your business to thrive, decline or remain stable? Why?
We are expecting growth. The reason is twofold: First, when market conditions are uncertain, consumers show a “flight to quality”. This means they will go to experienced agents with a great reputation. We have been in business locally for 60 years and our brand has been in business since 1744 — that is a legacy that will attract people. The second reason is that many part-time or newer agents are expected to leave the industry. This is what has happened in the past when the number of sales dropped significantly. We know that those clients will likely come to an agency that has a reputation for expertise.
What will be the biggest challenges for agents in 2023?
There will be several challenges for agents in 2023. First, they cannot rely on the skills that made them successful for the last decade. When the market shifts, you need to change your approach to the market and refine your skill set to meet new consumer demands. Next, strategic pricing and dynamic, wide-reaching marketing will become critically important to maintaining momentum. Those skills have not been in demand in the last few years, due to a frenzied seller’s market. Lastly, there will be fewer homes selling. So, agents will need to be even more proactive and responsive than they have been.
What can agents do to succeed in 2023?
They will need three things: First, they need to develop a strong business plan that includes skill-acquisition, connecting with colleagues as well as competitors, attending industry events and contributing to their community. Next, they will need to look back at the last market change to be ready for what we are likely to see, including alternatives to the more common financing solutions. Last, they will need to expand their relationships with strategic partners in related businesses to be prepared to solve their clients’ challenges. It’s all about providing the most accurate information so clients can make the best decisions.
Is the work-from-home trend still changing the way people are shopping for homes?
Yes, buyers are continuing to look for homes that can support multiple home offices, though we are already seeing people return to the office 2-3 days per week. This is evidenced by the traffic in and out of Boston and Cambridge having returned to pre-pandemic commute times.
What does the landscape of your company look like post-COVID? (Are agents back in the office? Do you have more tech? etc.)
We are seeing a blend of the work-from-home and in-office work habits from our agents. Consumer needs to either buy or sell are consistent throughout all markets, so in an effort to help our agents keep their focus on achieving their clients’ objectives, the tech stack we offer is more robust than ever, and we have several additional features that we will be making available to our agents in the coming months. Skills training and market data scrutiny are even more important to us now. Having seen numerous market shifts over our decades-long tenure, we have had an initiative underway for months to prepare our agents for the market shift and allow them to thrive in a more challenging market.