If you are planning to sell next spring, don’t wait! Consider a winter home sale. A National Association of Realtors survey indicates that a surge of home sale inventory is on the horizon. The NAR third quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey indicated that 77 percent of Americans believe it to be a good time to sell (Homeowners Ready to Sell in the Third Quarter of 2018, says Realtor Survey; September 25, 2018; nar.realtor)! This happens to be a record high for the survey. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun believes that the strong sentiment is due to recent home price appreciation. He stated:
“Though the vast majority of consumers believe home prices will continue to increase or hold steady, they understand the days of easy, fast gains could be coming to an end. Therefore, more are indicating that it is a good time to sell, which is a healthy shift in the market.“
A winter home sale has less seller competition
The housing market conditions are such that we are on the verge of experiencing a déjà vu. Two years ago, winter home sales were fueled by rising mortgage interest rates, low inventory and pent up demand. As I predicted in a November 2016 column, rising interest rates and pent up demand were credited for the almost 10 percent jump in home sales by the end of January 2017! The massive jump in home sales occurred during the deep winter, when existing home sale inventory dropped about one-third of the summer inventory. Sellers who had a winter home sale during 2016-17 were greeted by eager home buyers and faced little competition.
Fast forward to 2018. Yes, admittedly, home sales have slightly dropped off during summer. But many are attributing this phenomenon to the lack of inventory. Consider that Montgomery County existing single-family home sale inventory was almost 20 percent lower than that of the summer of 2016. Although summer home sales dropped off, indicators point to a hot winter housing market. Moderating home prices, combined with pent up buyer demand and a strong economy could make a winter home sale ideal.
It’s clear that home buyers facing rising interest rates have taken a pause. But as rates approach 5 percent, positive economic sentiment is lessening the shock and many are planning to buy before rates creep higher. Giving perspective to the mortgage rate hysteria, current mortgage rates are about the same as they were during 2014. Additionally, the last time we saw mortgage rates above 5 percent was in 2010. Rates exceeded 6 percent when home sales broke records during the market buildup of 2006.
Current sentiment is good for a winter home sale
Another indicator that a winter home sale may be primed is the most recent Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (No Thanks to Housing, Home Purchase Sentiment Edges Up; fanniemae.com; August 2018). Home buyer sentiment increased the first time since May. Economists attribute this uptick to a strong economy along with the awareness of the recent market slowdown. The job and income related index components increased significantly indicating that buyers feel financially more secure with a home purchase. There is also a belief that home prices may moderate due to the summer sales slump.
Winter home sales tend to have less competition and serious home buyers. As I said in 2016, don’t wait until spring to sell your home! If you wait until spring to list your home, you’ll be faced with a profusion of seller competition.
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Copyright© Dan Krell
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