To illustrate, I’ll share an amazing story I was told in the late 1980’s by Bryan, a young man with an amazing mullet, one that would have made Billy Ray Cyrus proud.
While exiting his high school one wintry day, Bryan noticed that plow and wind drifts had formed a perfect snow ramp from the ground to the top of a dumpster at the edge of the parking lot.
Just then Bryan’s buddy Sean walked by with skis over shoulder. Sean was the school’s best skier.
Bryan got an idea. “Growing up in Alaska,” he explained, “A lot of us made ropes with, like, a PVC handle and fixed em’ to the back of our buddies’ snowmobiles, and we’d ski to school behind them, kinda like waterskiing, y’know?
“Now, I never did too much crazy stuff myself,” Bryan told me (mullets were not generally considered crazy back then), “but I was always pretty good at talking other kids into doing things I wanted to see get done.”
Accordingly he said, “Sean, dude! Check out that sweet ramp! You should totally jump it!”
Sean balked. He had chores and homework to do. But Bryan persisted, saying loud enough for other kids to hear:
“Dude, you’ll be a legend for sure when you jump that!”
After hearing “C’mon man,” and “Dude, come on!” a couple dozen times, Sean relented. “All right, I’ll do it,” he said. “One time. No more than twenty-five miles per hour.”
Sean coordinated with Dave, a kid with a fast snowmobile. Word spread and crowd formed.
Dave tugged Sean out into the field and lined up with the dumpster. Sean nodded. Dave took off. Sean let go of the rope at the last second and hit the ramp. He catapulted somewhat awkwardly through the air and landed deep in the snowy field.
The crowd went wild. Bryan rushed out and said, “Dude, that was AWESOME! You’re the MAN! But you know what’d be EVEN MORE awesome? If you did it a little faster, maybe did a trick.”
Again, Sean objected. Again, Bryan persisted. Again Sean yielded. “Fine. Tell Dave thirty.”
They lined up again, a little further out. Dave took off, hit about thirty miles per hour and this time Sean did a “daffy,” scissoring his legs wide open, one ski pointed forward and up and the other backward and down. Then he stuck the landing.
“How’d I look—was that cool?” Sean asked Bryan.
“Dude, that was AWESOME! You’re the best, man! But you know what’d be even cooler? Is if you did it just a little faster.”
By now practically the entire student body was watching. And exerting peer pressure. Sean told Bryan, “Fine, but this is the LAST time. I mean it. Tell Dave thirty-five.”
Bryan grinned, ran to Dave and said, “Once more. This time he wants you go as fast as you can.”
Dave nodded thoughtfully, then towed the unsuspecting Sean waaay past their starting points for the first two jumps. Then Dave just opened that sled up. That engine screamed and Sean clung to the rope, skipping across the snow and going like a rocket when he hit the ramp…
Oh, shoot! I got carried away and forgot this is a real estate article. Right now you must be dying to know what this story has to do with why you might want to list your home for sale.
For now, let me just point out that in 2018 single family homes in Laconia are selling at a full-throttled pace, with a median of just 37 days on market.
That’s because our nation’s economic engine has accelerated like Dave’s snowmobile. Since 2016, the Dow is up nearly 39 percent, the S&P 500 is up nearly 28 percent and the Nasdaq has gained 41 percent. Since January 2017, GDP has grown consistently near or above 3 percent, as high as 4.2 percent. Unemployment is near a 50-year low, 3.9 million more Americans found work in the last two years, and wages have increased by 2.9 percent year over year to the highest level since April 2009. Consumer sentiment is at the highest level in 18 years.
This economic engine has accelerated Laconia single family home sales to the fastest pace since at least 2003…
Shoot! You must be wondering what happened to Sean. At this point in the story Bryan paused and assumed a sober expression. He looked me straight in the eye and said: “I swear to you, I am not making this up. I am not lying. I am not exagerating. At the top of that jump, I swear to God Sean was higher than the telephone wires…”
At the peak of his jump, Sean freaked out. His body spasmed and convulsed with fear. He waaay overshot his first two landings and disappeared into a deep bank of snow.
When he failed to emerge, Bryan and Dave waded over to the Sean-shaped crater formed by meteoric impact. Sean was moaning, dazed and covered in snow. They fished him out, propped him Weekend at Bernie’s-style on the back of Dave’s snowmobile and took him home.
Sean didn’t come to school for the next few days. When he did return he was moving stiffly. “Dude, what happened?” Bryan asked.
“When I landed, the last thing I remember was this real loud ‘thwaking’ sound,” Sean told Bryan. “You know what that sound was?”
“It was the sound of my knees hitting my shoulders.” He slowly unbuttoned his shirt enough to show two kneecap-sized purple/black/blue/yellow/green bruises that had formed as a result of the impact.
The moral of this story? Even if you have a great engine propelling you, what goes up must eventually come down.
Median closed prices for single family homes in Laconia, which ramped up steadily since 2009 and hit at least a ten-year peak in 2017, are starting to waver and feel the effects of market gravity, just like Sean at the peak of his last jump.
Year-to-date, 2018 median single family home prices in Laconia, which were higher than the proverbial telephone wires in 2017 through the first quarter of 2018, are starting to drop. They’re down about seven percent presently. This is consistent with the fact that nationwide home sales have declined for four months in a row.
Rising prices and mortgage interest rates act like gravity against upward price momentum. As a result, home buyer activity has slowed, mortgage applications have declined, and prices are showing signs of arcing downward.
If you’ve ever considered selling, right now may be a great time to great time to list your Lakes Region home. The U.S. economy and area home prices are still up but they can’t stay that way forever. Homeowners who held on too long, past the prior peak in 2008, had to wait a decade for home prices to recover, just like Sean had to wait a few days before he could attend school.
In home sales, as with ski jumping, it’s critical to quit while you’re ahead, before gravity catches up to momentum.
Brent Metzger is a REALTOR® with Roche Realty Group in Meredith, NH and can be reached at (603) 229-8322 or (603) 279-7046. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.