Oxford real estate keeps warming up

Published 2:08 am Sunday, May 14, 2017

A red-hot real estate market is nothing new in Oxford.

It’s all many have been able to talk about in recent years. As other topics weave in and out, from politics and education to football and family, friends and food, real estate is the one topic any deep-rooted Oxonian never drops.

“Did you hear how much (so-and-so) is selling their house for?” one will say.

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“I don’t think anybody will pay that for that,” another will say. “Even in this market.”

But by the time they finish the conversation — yep — somebody paid that for that.

And these conversations have been increasing lately, making the always hot topic a non-stop topic, since Oxford’s real estate market is surging in another push of momentum as we speak.

From spring fever, a lack of inventory and people flush with cash from the generous equities markets of late, many houses in this market are being snapped up as quick as they hit the multiple listing service, and many never even get that far.

Consider that in the past week I’ve randomly run into five different people without even trying who have acquired sale contracts on their homes within 24 hours of listing, and these homes are scattered throughout the city at varying price points.

One seller wasn’t quite ready to sell their home, but was enticed by an eager buyer to let them have a peek and did. The seller turned down that quick offer, which was very close to the asking price, then went ahead and put their home on the market.

In a blink — yes, less than 24 hours — there were multiple suitors willing to pay the asking price and the one paying cash, with no financing, no appraisal and no inspection, got the deal. Of course.

But there’s nothing unusual about that, since the same thing happened south of town, east of town and in the middle of town during the same week. At developments including Grand Oaks and Oxford Commons, spec houses are being sold about as quickly as builders can build them. It’s just about finishing them up and getting to the closing table.

In older neighborhoods, homes that haven’t yet been remodeled sell for tear-down value and local architects are busy keeping up with the demand.

“It’s the dirt that’s so expensive,” said one long-time resident.

And the houses that sit on them aren’t that cheap, either.

Price points are rising along with the demand, of course. And, while the increases can be intimidating to long-time residents who remember days of $75,000 homes on Sisk Avenue (they now can go for $400,000 or more), Oxford homes, considering the amenities, approachable size, quality public schools and growth prospects, may not even be that high, yet.

“Everything in Oxford has looked expensive since 1985,” one friend told me, making a very good point.

Except for the national housing bust and recession that hit in 2008, Oxford’s market has gone up and up since 1985, albeit at a varying pace over the years. It’s just that right now, the community’s real estate market is buzzing at its fastest pace ever.

And that’s saying something.

Many realtors are so busy they say they can’t take a day off if a new listing is coming to market because the activity will be so brisk their phone won’t stop ringing, so what’s the point in trying?

That’s called a seller’s market, and a brisk one at that.

And it sure does make for good conversation around town.

David Magee is Publisher of The Oxford Eagle. He can be reached at david.magee@oxfordeagle.com.