This was a Spring for Housing Market Extremes

brown concrete building under blue sky during daytime

This spring, readers have grown accustomed to hyperbolic descriptions of what’s been going on in the nation’s housing market. In parts of the country, words like ‘boom’ and ‘frenzied’ have been appearing regularly in real estate commentaries—and many of them aren’t exaggerations. More often than any time in recent memory, it seems that some buyers are bent on owning a particular home no matter what!

CNN Business published a commentary recently with a headline that read like a not so funny answer to a late-night comic’s setup line:

“Just how hot is the housing market?”
“The housing market is so hot buyers are paying $1 million over the asking price.”

It was a headline that would no longer raise eyebrows in some regions where few properties are available for the many would-be owners seeking to relocate. Some of the real-life examples CNN correspondent Anna Bahney reported:

• One buyer, striving to compete with a rival’s $25,000-over-asking offer, could only scrape up $15,000-over…but when he added 10 Ether crypto coins (worth almost $40,000 at the time), he landed the house.
• A buyer in the radioactively hot Austin market paid $1 million for “a $500,000 home.” Worried that the inflated price would raise property taxes, he came up with two separate transactions—the second bought a new home for the seller. The legalities were handled by a real estate lawyer who did admit that “buying two homes just to get one is pretty wild…but creative.”
• One view property in Berkeley, California that listed for $1,150,000, sold in two weeks for $2.3 million.

This spring, the phenomenon isn’t everywhere—but it is surprisingly widespread. By one account, literally hundreds of US homes have sold for $1 million over asking. Our own housing market may not be overloaded with buyers competing to advance seven-figure-over offers, but the current mortgage interest environment has enabled buyers to be uncommonly generous. If you have been tempted to list your own home, it’s not hard to agree that right now is still an unusually opportune moment.