While the Kansas City metropolitan area lost approximately 3,456 jobs in March of 2010, the Labor Department reported today that initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 25,000 for the week ending May 15th, 2010.
Meanwhile, it's the middle of May and, much like our weather, the Kansas City housing market is cool. While it has been unseasonably cool and wet, the weather has had little to do with slow housing sales. Slow sales are more likely attributable to the uncertainties in employment coupled with the avalanche of legislation that has hit the mortgage and banking industry in 2010.
With higher down payments, and closing costs, buyers now make sure they have enough funds to cover unexpected repairs to the home they plan to purchase before they sign a contract. They also go to numerous public websites in their quest for a home that fits their lifestyle and budget.
A favorite site for buyers is called Zillow.com. When a prospective buyer clicks on an address Zillow generates pictures, maps, and a home valuation called the Zestimate. In a booming economy information taken from public records can be fairly accurate and beneficial to both the buyer and seller. In a down economy, when the information source is from Sheriff Sales, loan modifications and short sales, the Zestimate can be below market value by thousands of dollars.
Job losses, tougher lending standards, fewer liquid assets, and fear of declining home prices are just the tip of the iceberg for the difficulties facing anyone trying to sell a home. The unfortunate truth is if your home has been on the market over 30 days you are likely to be waiting longer than normal for a buyer.