The Real Estate Browser Volume 12, Issue 12 - Page 8

8 — Say you saw it in The Real Estate Browser of Lynchburg — Volume 12 Number 12 www . LynchburgRealEstateBrowser . com
Should You Wait Until Spring To Sell Your Home ? No Way !
Why Winter Listings Rule Today

Winter is typically a slow time for home sales , when sellers might wonder if they have any hope of finding a buyer . But will that be the case this winter ?

“ Normally this is a boring question , but this year it ’ s anything but ,” says Danielle Hale , chief economist of Realtor . com ®. Although the housing market tends to freeze up once snow falls , Hale predicts that this postpandemic winter season will be different : “ Sellers can expect to see plenty of buyers .”
“ Compared to other past winter seasons , this winter season ’ s sales activity will be stronger ,” agrees Lawrence Yun , chief economist at the National Association of Realtors ®. “ This winter , there will be more sales compared to pre-pandemic winters going back all the way to 2006 .”
This optimism stems back to ( you guessed it ) the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown , which created a pent-up demand for homes throughout much of 2020 that completely swamped the usual spring rush , winter lull rhythm of the real estate cycle .
And that overwhelming demand for housing is still going strong today .
“ We had unusual seasonality in 2020 due to the pandemic shifting timing around for many buyers and sellers ,” explains Hale . “ While 2021 had much more normal seasonality — homes sold fastest in summer and slower in fall and winter — this year has been a standout for its own reasons .”
Another factor is that , with supply chain issues slowing new home construction , many buyers just couldn ’ t find their dream homes in the spring , summer , or fall — and will still be looking into the cold winter months .
Due to this high demand and limited inventory , “ Winter is likely to be a better time to sell than winter typically is ,” says Kelly Mangold , principal at RCLCO Real Estate Consulting . “ Many sellers should not feel the need to wait until spring , especially in high-demand areas .”
So if you ’ ve all but written off the idea of selling your home until spring ’ 22 , think again ! Here are a few things to know about selling your home this winter .
Inventory is low — and homes are selling fast
Although the number of homebuyers house hunting this winter may be slightly lower than during the busy spring and summer seasons , these homebuyers mean serious business . As such , Hale says , “ Sellers can expect to see homes sell quickly .”
How quickly are we talking about ? In October , U . S . homes spent an average of 45 days on the market — eight days fewer than the previous year , according to Realtor . com data . In the 50 largest metros across the U . S ., homes sat on the market for just 39 days . In the hottest and most competitive towns and cities , it was substantially less .
Home prices may have peaked
Another reason sellers may want to list their homes now is that prices are at an all-time high . According to Realtor . com data , median home prices in the U . S . now hover at $ 380,000 , up 9 % from a year earlier .
But there are signs that these high prices are leveling off .
“ The days of fast price gains are over ,” Yun says . “ There will be few pockets of the market where bidding wars do occur , but sellers should expect much less than what was occurring the past 12 months . Home prices generally will be higher price compared to one year ago , but maybe a bit lower compared to what occurred in the summer .”
Given that prices seem to be softening , Yun advises sellers to check their local market to see if other homes are lingering on the market a little longer than in previous months , and to talk to their real estate agent about adjusting their price accordingly .
Hale agrees : “ A greater share of sellers may find that they have overreached on their initial asking price and need to adjust lower .”
Interest rates are creeping up
The all-time-low interest rates of the past 20-plus months inspired many buyers to shop for real estate . As of Nov . 10 , interest rates were 2.98 % for a 30-year fixed-rate loan , according to Freddie Mac . But these rates may be going up .
The Mortgage Bankers Association estimates that rates will rise to 3.1 % by the end of 2021 and 4 % by the end of 2022 .
These increasing interest rates could discourage buyers from being as bullish going forward .
“ Sellers should be aware that higher mortgage rates mean reduced purchasing power for buyers and may eat into potential buyers ’ ability to offer top dollar ,” Hale explains .
More homes should hit the market by spring 2022 , Yun says , but buyer demand will partly depend on where interest rates go next . If they ’ re up , that “ spring rush ” of buyers may have their hands tied in terms of how much they can pay for your home .
By Erica Sweeney-National Association Of REALTORS ®
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