Milford real estate availability low

MILFORD – With urban dwellers looking for a piece of green, the real estate market in Milford is at a low, with fewer than seven houses available for sale and towns in the surrounding area are faring no better.

Amherst Coldwell Banker realtor Siobhan Dalton, a member of the Coldwell Banker Diamond Society, said the outlook is not good.

“This market is driving us all crazy,” she said. “Agents are frustrated, buyers are frustrated, sellers are thrilled. But we’re in this kind of log jam because there are so many buyers out there who want to jump in and purchase a house. But there is so little for them to see out there.”

As of Tuesday, Milford had six homes on the active market, which includes all price ranges for single family homes. Amherst had seven homes on the market, all single family homes. Wilton and Lyndeborough had five each.

Dalton said the problem is that sellers can’t find anything that they want to get into.

“There’s not enough for sellers to see so they can say, ‘Let’s move on, we see all these condos that we want to buy,'” she said. “But they can’t find anything that they like well enough to put their house on the market. So they’re sitting tight.”

Dalton said no one is happy with the current situation and speaking with realtors, some who have been in the business for 40 years, they have all said that they’ve never seen anything like it.

“The flipside is that I’m scared to death as to what will happen once these folks try to sell the house that they’re spending $100,000 more than what they’re worth,” she shared. “I’ve been dealing with a lot of people, some very intelligent people who work in high finance and they’re just shaking their heads.”

Many buyers don’t want to be in a boat where they’ll be trying to sell a house that can’t recoup a huge over-asking purchase.

Milford has seen an increase in the average sold price of $321,830 in 2019 to $434,192 in 2021. Likewise, Amherst has seen an increase from $413,571 in 2019 to $569,813 in 2021.

Dalton said the real estate market will not be in the same situation that it was in back in 2008.

“The rates are there and the banks are qualifying people very well,” she explained. “You’re not seeing people getting into loans that shouldn’t be getting into loans. That’s kind of what happened back then. That’s a good thing.”

Dalton added that it’s not the same market. But she added that it’s still “frightening.”

Indications are that this seller’s market will continue through 2022 or perhaps even longer. Dalton said interest rates are forecasted to continue to be competitive going into 2022, which will keep buyers looking to buy going forward.

“I work with agents in my office and they’re telling horror stories,” she said. “It’s insane. These people are trying to get into these few homes that are available and agents are running around and spending hours of their time and nothing is coming in for it.”

As realtors work on commission, Dalton said, “If you’re not sitting at the closing table and getting something closed, you have no income.”

Like many realtors, Dalton said it’s tough when you’re going through up to nine offers on a house for one buyer and they still don’t get it.

Dalton called what’s happening, “The Wild West.”

“Buyers are so frustrated with having to offer so much over the asking price just to have their offer considered,” she said. “I had a buyer offer $100K over the list price and he did not get the house. A cash buyer was the winner, even though my buyer had solid financing and a huge down payment and deposit.”

Some buyers are saying that they’ll start looking for homes in Massachusetts. Dalton said that’s no better than New Hampshire.

“If people think they’ll find a better way to do this down in Massachusetts, they’re in for a rude awakening,” she stated. “Massachusetts is worse than we are. People are trying to get out of the cities and they’re coming in from all over the place. People are throwing money around and they don’t care.”

With current conditions, one appraiser that Dalton knew, went from appraising to becoming a realtor instead.

“Inspectors are dying on the vine,” she said. “They’re not getting the phone calls anymore because people are waiving the home inspections.”

Dalton said another buyer was going to waive appraisal but again, didn’t get the offer accepted because it couldn’t match a cash offer.

“That agent called me back later because the cash offer deal fell apart,” she said. “And do you know why? Because that buyer had the septic inspected and the septic failed. That’s a cost of between $15K and $18K to put in a new septic.”

That seller thought wisely and decided that he would knock $15K off any offer that we was considering because that septic system would need to be replaced.

With everything topsy-turvy, Dalton said that most houses are going under agreement within three to five days.

“That’s are the prevailing numbers,” she said. “And if they’re not going under agreement right away, it’s new construction, because that takes longer. But for the most part if the property is priced right, it’s a done deal.”

Showings have also been streamlined because of the large number of buyers out there, Dalton said.

“What we’re doing now to make it easy on a seller, because it is a seller’s market, is we’re doing two open houses on the weekend,” she said. “The open house is being set up so that only agents who have made appointments to bring their buyers may go to that open house.”

Buyers are given only fifteen minutes to do a home walk-through.

“They have a time slot,” Dalton said. “They go in and have fifteen minutes, then they’re out and the next agent and buyers go it and so forth.”

After that, all offers must be submitted by 6 p.m. on Monday. Dalton said sellers are getting between ten and fifteen offers.

“We have to sit there with a spread sheet and help them analyze the numbers,” she said. “We have to figure out which ones look good and which ones don’t. It’s crazy.”

Dalton said that people also don’t realize, that if they get more for their house, they may well end up spending that much more on their new house which they haven’t bought yet in a lot of circumstances but have to because they’ve just sold their home.

“There are a bunch of caveats,” she said. “People need a plan as to what they’re going to do if they sell their house. It’s not as simple as buying the next one that comes along. That could take a while.”