Home-Selling in Winter

Many homeowners are hesitant to list their home in the winter thinking that the cold weather season won’t attract many buyers. But while spring may be the peak home selling season owners getting started by the first of the year may be at an advantage.
The real estate brokerage Redfin found that on average, sellers net more above the asking price during the winter months. Their study found this to be true even in cities like Boston and Chicago and that homes listed in winter tended to sell faster than those in the spring.

One advantage for winter home marketing is the fact that many corporate or professional transfers focus on ‘the new year.’ These transferees are serious buyers and know that properties coming on the market at the first of the year are owned by ‘serious sellers’ motivated to get a jump on the ‘spring market.’
Winter sellers know that inventories of homes on the market tend to be lower in winter and therefore they could be very well facing less competition. They feel that if their home doesn’t attract a buyer they will have the advantage of ‘market feedback’ from agents and buyers and have the time to make recommended condition and price adjustments before the April rush.
Naturally winter buyers will be more focused on issues like heating systems and heating costs as well as supplemental heat sources like fireplaces and wood and pellet stoves.

Home stagers agree that the gray days ahead can leave a gloomy impression and advise sellers to emphasize a sense of warmth inside the home . An added tip is to pay close attention to lighting. It’s advisable to increase bulb wattage and add fixtures in areas that tend to be dark.

Commercial Sectors Expects Modest Growth

Multifamily and industrial properties will continue to lead growth among commercial real estate sectors as the economy makes moderate gains through the end of the year and into 2017, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando on Friday. He expects rental rates in the multifamily sector to rise a modest 3 percent a year through 2018, fueled by young households who see solid job growth but aren’t yet ready to buy. He said that the industrial properties are expected to see a solid 4 percent growth in rental rates. Yun said the country is likely to maintain positive economic growth over the next two years likely at a 2 percent rate.

Inflation will largely stay in check, thanks to low gas prices, but expect it to rise from 1.2 percent this year to 2.5 percent over the next two years because gas prices will continue to drop. That means the inflation rate will no longer offset rising medical costs, rents, and college tuition. He predicted that it is likely for the Federal Reserve to raise its short-term interest rate in December 2016 — and then possibly twice more in 2017.

K.C. Conway of Sun Trust Bank said that because of weakness in the U.S. economy, Conway said, the Fed might raise its short-term rate only once (in December) and then not at all in 2017 because increases could hurt the two sectors of the economy that are still doing well: home sales and personal consumption.

Both Yun and Conway said the economy is hurt by the lack of new housing construction, which is keeping prices high and forcing young households to delay home purchases. At the core of the inventory problem are regulations that make it hard for banks to increase their construction lending to builders. Easing those restrictions for community banks, Yun said, would help unleash badly needed financing for builders without putting the banking system at risk, since large, systemically important financial institutions would still be subject to stringent capital rules.

Realtors’ Role

When the first Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was introduced 35 years ago by the National Association of Realtors®, mortgage rates were over four times higher than they are today and first-time buyers made up a larger share of overall sales. In anticipation of the upcoming 2016 survey release one trend that NAR has identified as a noteworthy is the continued role of the Realtor as the centerpiece in the majority of home purchases and sales.

It should come as no surprise that NAR didn’t track buyer and seller data on internet usage in 1981. With the World Wide Web not gaining mass popularity until the 1990’s and realtor. com® introduced, in 1995, the ability to view listings online and then contact a Realtor® was non-existent.

When NAR first began asking the question 21 years ago, only 2 percent of buyers used the internet during their home search. By 2005 usage soared to over three-quarters of buyers, and since 2012, 90 percent or more have gone online during the house hunt.

Despite the internet’s ascending popularity over the past 20 years nearly 90 percent of respondents worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home which pulled for-sale-by-owner transactions down to their lowest share ever (8 percent). Realtors® are the source of online real estate data, and they continue to use their real insights and local market knowledge to help bring buyers and sellers together