Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market. Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right. Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions. That hasn’t happened this year. Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2016 all fell in April, May or June. Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.
Bottom Line If you are planning on selling your home in 2017, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market. Contact us today!
A recent study of more than 7 million home sales over the past four years revealed that the season in which a home is listed may be able to shed some light on the likelihood that the home will sell for more than asking price, as well as how quickly the sale will close. It’s no surprise that listing a home for sale during the spring saw the largest return, as the spring is traditionally the busiest season for real estate. What is surprising, though, is that listing during the winter came in second!
The study goes on to say that:
If you are debating listing your home for sale in 2017, keep in mind that the spring is when most other homeowners will decide to list their homes as well. Listing your home this winter will ensure that you have the best exposure to the serious buyers who are out looking now! The study used the astronomical seasons to determine which season the listing date fell into (Winter: Dec. 21 – Mar. 20; Spring: Mar. 21 – June 20; Summer: June 21 – Sept 21; Autumn: Sept 21 – Dec. 20).
It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year. The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring, as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months in which most people listed their homes for sale in 2016. Here is a graphic showing the results:
The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,820,000.
That number spiked to 2,140,000 by May!
What does this mean to you?
With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer.
It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home today.
We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house. Let’s look at the data covered by the latest Pending Home Sales Report and Existing Home Sales Report.
THE PENDING HOME SALES REPORT
The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) are up 2.4% over last year, and have increased year-over-year now for 22 of the last 25 consecutive months. Lawrence Yun, NAR‘s Chief Economist, had this to say:
“The one major predicament in the housing market is without a doubt the painfully low levels of housing inventory in much of the country. It’s leading to home prices outpacing wages, properties selling a lot quicker than a year ago and the home search for many prospective buyers being highly competitive and drawn out because of a shortage of listings at affordable prices.”
Takeaway: Demand for housing will continue throughout the end of 2016 and into 2017. The seasonal slowdown often felt in the winter months did not occur last winter and shows no signs of returning this year.
THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT
The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:
- Total housing inventory rose 1.5% to 2.04 million homes available for sale
- That represents a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace
- Unsold inventory is 6.8% lower than a year ago, marking the 16th consecutive month with year-over-year declines
There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:
“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in. Unfortunately, there won’t be much relief from new home construction, which continues to be grossly inadequate in relation to demand.”
In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values. As Yun notes, we are, and will remain, in a seller’s market with prices still increasing unless more listings come to the market.
“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”
Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. Prices will continue to rise if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.
If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out looking for your house.
The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market demand. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index. Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between Seller Traffic (supply) and Buyer Traffic (demand).
The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes in that area. Only four states came in with a weak or moderate demand level.
The Index also asked: “How would your rate seller traffic in your area?” As you can see from the map below, the majority of the country has weak Seller Traffic, meaning there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for their dream homes.
Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet the buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, meet with a local real estate professional in your area who can help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!
Thinking of selling your home? Why not start preparing now to make your property show in the best light. Here are some tips: declutter, neutralize, clean, purify, define and enhance.
Sellers usually have goals in mind when selling their home, which consist of: selling the property for the highest price/market value, in the shortest amount of time/within a certain time frame and hope that process is as stress free as possible. Statistically speaking, in Listing with a Real Estate Agent, homes sell for more money, are on the market for less time and there is less stress on the seller. Hiring an experienced and professional Agent in your Agent affords you the knowledge, know-how and team needed to help you in your home sale.
Looking to buy or sell a property in the Chicago suburbs, city or anywhere in the United States? Contact us today. We have local market expertise with national real estate connections and we can help you, or help you find a real estate professional throughout the United States.