After 28 years in any business, you might think you've seen it all, but Realtor Larry Underhill says he has encountered something new.
He has never seen a time when the housing inventory was smaller.
"There is very little for sale," he said. "The demand is far outstripping the supply. There are multiple offers on properties. Anything well-priced and attractive at all sells in a matter of days."
Local real estate agents in the know say that right now is one of the best sellers' markets in a century.
In the 90 days before Aug 20, 213 homes sold in Lodi according to www.redfin.com, an online source of real estate data. Six months ago, in the 90 days leading up to March, only 181 homes sold.
Sheri Aguilar, the incoming president of the Lodi Association of Realtors, shared several pieces of information she counts on to determine whether or not the market is doing well.
Aguilar looks at the current inventory, how many offers are placed on a single home, and whether those offers are over the asking price. This reveals how eager buyers are to get into a new home.
The affordability index for the area is looking good at 86 percent.
The index combines the median income with the median sale price of a home. That means 86 percent of Lodians can afford a home with the right financing. In 2005, that number was at 10 percent due to high interest rates at the time.
"People can afford homes," she said. "We're calling it the perfect storm. We've got historically low prices and interest rates."
Sales are actually low at the moment because there are so few houses on the market. Inventory is at 51 percent of average. Aguilar says that they need twice as many homes on the market to meet demand.
Most houses are spending fewer than 40 days on the market and receiving between three and 20 offers, several going over the asking price. Sellers in 2005 were lucky to get a single offer in six months on the market, due to a lack of buyer confidence.
Another major sign is that developers are beginning to build again.
Underhill spoke with a developer on Thursday morning who has seen his fair share of ups and downs in the market.
"He said every poll and indicator is positive," said Underhill. "Momentum is building."
One challenge to getting in on the incoming real estate boom is timing.
Underhill said by the time appraisers and loan underwriters are comfortable calling it a trend, the window is beginning to close. This is exactly what happened at the last upturn of the housing market, he said.
But what is he hearing from the buyers themselves?
"There's an eagerness to jump into the market. There's more cash transactions going on than I've seen in years. Smart money is entering the market and buying real estate," he said.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.