The winter real estate market tends to be significantly different from other seasons. Buyers and sellers alike are often driven by different reasons than at other times of the year. That can be a win-win for both motivated buyers and sellers in the right climate.
Many homeowners list their property during spring and early summer hoping to maximize their return on investment during the competitive seasons. Families with school-aged children tend to be highly motivated buyers because they prefer not to take a child out of school mid-term.
Given the nationwide housing shortage, those seasons were hot seller’s market with Millennials scooping up listings quickly at or near asking price. But since the dog days of summer, the housing industry has changed substantially.
These are four meat-and-potatoes reasons to buy or sell property this winter.
- Inventory Shortage: During the first six months of 2018, the national housing shortage stood at a 20-year worst. That was great news for sellers who enjoyed higher prices and fewer days on the market. It wasn’t great for buyers who were in heated competition for homes. A shortage is expected during the winter months. That could be good news for sellers. But there is likely to be less competition, and that may allow buyers a little wiggle room in negotiations.
- Interest Rates: The Fed announced that interest rates would inch up in four increments by the end of 2018. While that may seem like bad news, it could be helpful for motivated buyers and sellers this winter. The rate increases will likely result in listing prices leveling off, and that could help buyers from being priced out of the market. The Fed also announced that rates would likely increase further by the end of 2019, which should motivate people to buy sooner rather than later. Simply put, the winter market forecast looks hot.
- Tax Cuts: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped many Americans keep more of their own money and ratchet up the economy. A recent announcement from the White House says a middle-class tax cut of 10 percent is expected to be pushed through Congress. Rates may eek up but keeping another 10 percent of your money can provide a great deal of mortgage bandwidth.
- Employment Opportunities: As mentioned above, spring and summer markets are often driven by family considerations. The winter market tends to be driven by others. One of the key reasons buyers and sellers relocate during the winter is driven by jobs. It is common for large and mid-sized companies to hire for the first of the year. Given the tremendous opportunities in this robust economy, higher salaries and dream jobs may present themselves. This winter could be a carpe diem homes market.
Although winter housing markets may have been sluggish in some years, it’s been a long time since everyday Americans were immersed in a thriving economy. With unemployment at a near 50-year low and wages rising, this winter could be a winner for buyers and sellers.
Whether you are buying or selling, your trusted real estate agent is available to help you navigate the market any time of the year in your area.