Ask A Broker: What Does Days on Market Mean?

16 Feb 2015 | 11:42

I religiously analyze market statistics to understand the residential real estate business . By thoroughly understanding the stats and how they affect my buyers and sellers, I can effectively explain their options and empower them to comfortably make smart, informed decisions.

Simple, right? Hardly?.

This month, the most glaring statistic is average days-on-market. Shorter days-on-market reflects strong buyer demand; longer days-on-market reflects weaker demand. Currently, days-on-market is 78 for the Upper West Side, 84 for the Upper East Side, and 75 for the Downtown market.

What does this tell us? Where were days-on-market 30 days ago? They were 51 for the Upper West Side, representing a 52% increase. They were 74 for the Upper East Side, representing a 12% increase. They were 69 for Downtown, representing a 17% increase. Sixty days ago, the days-on-market were 46, 69 and 51 for the Upper West, Upper East and Downtown, respectively. (Thank you Urban Digs for providing these critical statistics.)

Is anyone able to spot a trend? Is this a cause for alarm? Average days-on-market is most definitely trending up, and up significantly.

Okay, relax Henny Penny, the sky is not falling. If we examine days-on-market from a historical point of view, we know that they increase significantly every year at this time. This is a seasonal fluctuation in the market, reflecting the typically slow summer months. Check out this column next month; unless there is a significant market shift, I expect to see a leveling of average days-on-market.

In last month's column, I described an open house that had five visitors and no offers. That property now has an accepted offer. Happy Autumn!

When a property is priced well and appeals to the proper demographic, it generates interest. Buyers are out there, looking for value; when they like what they see, they buy it. More inventory is coming on the market. This is a very healthy situation, good for serious buyers, good for serious sellers, and good for brokers.

Michael Shapot is a broker with Keller Williams in Manhattan.