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.
The following is a letter to members of Congress regarding pending tax reform legislation from the National Association of Realtors.
To Members of Congress
Re: Provisions to Improve Tax Reform for Homeowners As a REALTOR and your constituent, I urge you to push the House-Senate Conference Committee on the tax reform bill to strengthen the protections for consumers and homeowners. Building on the progress of the Senate bill, please support the following provisions for inclusion in the final legislation:
Mortgage Interest Deduction: Retain current law to maintain a total cap of $1 million on primary first and second homes.
Capital Gains Exemption: Retain current law of exempting gains of up to $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers for primary residence lived in for two of the past five years of ownership.
These provisions would add needed protection to current and future homeowners and strengthen the ability of qualified American families to purchase a home. Please add these provisions to protect middle-class homeowners and the American Dream of homeownership.
The National Association of Realtors is urging its members to oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, tax reform legislation being considered in the United States Senate. This bill is a direct threat to consumers and homeowners. Not only will millions of homeowners not benefit from the proposal, many will get a tax increase. Additionally, homeowners could lose substantial equity from the more than 10% drop in home values likely to result if the bill is enacted.
The legislation includes changes to the exemption on capital gains tax from the sale of a primary residence, elimination of the deduction for all state and local taxes, and elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity loans. All this from a bill that is supposed to improve the current tax system.
Not only is this legislation a clear and present danger to American homeownership, it will cost our children and grandchildren $1.5 trillion in new federal debt.
In 2018, anticipate home-building will shift to the suburbs, according to a forecast recently released by Zillow. Cheaper construction costs, coupled with demand for entry-level homes, is expected to lead to increased inventory in the suburbs.
“We’re on the other side of the housing recovery, and the real estate market looks quite different than it did 15 or even five years ago,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “We have a huge generation entering the market. They really want to be homeowners, and they’re faced with an inventory crisis that leaves them with few options. Builders won’t ignore this hungry market, and we’ll start to see a rise in new construction at the more affordable end, instead of all the luxury buildings we’ve seen lately.
“However, builders are also facing high costs, so instead of adding density in cities where zoning laws and land costs often preclude affordable building, we’ll see the suburbs grow and expand outward.”
Inventory is currently down 12 percent year-over-year. If builders follow the forecast, millennials in need of options and reasonable prices will make their way out of cities and into the suburbs.
Housing prices have returned to the “boom levels” of a decade ago, but this time around, the fast appreciation is being fueled by strong supply-and-demand dynamics rather than predatory lending practices, investor speculation, and too much construction, according to new realtor.com® data released Monday.
“As we compare today’s market dynamics to those of a decade ago, it’s important to remember rising prices didn’t cause the housing crash,” says Realtor Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “It was rising prices stoked by subprime and low-documentation mortgages, as well as people looking for short-term gains—versus today’s truer market vitality—that created the environment for the crash.”
The national median price for a home in 2016 was $236,000—2 percent higher than in pre-recession 2006—according to realtor.com®. Out of the country’s 50 largest housing markets, 31 have returned to their levels during the last housing bubble. Realtor.com® researchers finger Austin, Texas, as the city that has posted the largest increases in home prices—63 percent—over the past 10 years. Denver and Dallas have also seen some of the biggest gains, at 54 percent and 52 percent, respectively. On the other hand, three markets remained more than 20 percent below their 2006 highs: Las Vegas (25 percent below); Tucson, Ariz. (22 percent); and Riverside, Calif. (22 percent).
The steadily improving U.S economy, sustained job growth, and rising confidence that now is a good time to buy a home should pave the way for an increase in existing-home sales in 2018. That is according to comments from Lawrence Yun chief economist for the National Association of Realtors® on how to ensure more creditworthy households can enjoy the personal and financial benefits of owning a home.
“Despite considerable demand all year, pending sales have lost a step in recent months because low supply is pushing prices higher and making home buying less affordable in several parts of the country,” said Yun.
With a few months of data remaining in 2017, Yun estimates that existing-home sales will finish at a pace of 5.47 million – the best since 2006. (6.47 million), but only a modest improvement from 2016. In 2018, sales are forecast to expand 3.7 percent to 5.67 million. The national median existing-home price is expected to rise to around 5.5 percent this year and next year.
Autumn began in September, but activity in the housing market remained at summer-like levels through October, according to Realtor.com®’s latest data preview. Prices in October were 10 percent higher than those one year ago, with the national median at $275,000 and the national median age of inventory at 73 days.
“This month we aren’t just experiencing still-summery weather—we’re also seeing a sizzlingly competitive housing market at a time when things are usually cooling off for the fall,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com. “With not enough homes on the market to meet the high demand, homes are selling 8 percent more quickly than a year ago even though prices are as high as they’ve ever been.
“For potential buyers who waited until fall hoping to score a bargain, the pickings are disappointingly slim,” Hale says, “but one potential bright spot for market-fatigued buyers is that new listings are up slightly from one year ago. While new listings declined in the first four months of the year, they have increased on a year-over-year basis in five of the last six months.”