As warmer weather starts spreading across the United States, look for the residential real estate market to emerge from its hibernation.
That’s the reassuring view from Eddie Tyner, general manager of ForSaleByOwner.com, one of several online services that help sellers bypass real estate agents and their 6 percent commissions. “Buyers who might have been reluctant to shop seriously during the unusually cold weather this winter will be out in force and searching for properties,” Tyner explains. “This pent-up demand will benefit all sellers.”
Tyner says he’s already seen evidence of buyer excitement. “In January alone, we saw a significant increase in visitors at ForSaleByOwner.com. Page views were up by more than 53 percent from December 2013.”
As buyer interest heats up, the housing market recovery of 2013 seems to be slowing down. The numbers should be viewed in terms of the bigger picture, Tyner says. Take for example Illinois.
“Although the Illinois Association of Realtors reports that the state’s January home sales fell 7.5 percent compared to the same month in 2013, and Chicago-area sales dropped by 8.9 percent, there is cause for optimism,” he says. Home prices already are regaining their strength. “That same IAR report shows that in January, the statewide median price was $136,950, a 9.6 percent increase from the same month a year earlier when it was $125,000.”
Seasonal market improvements also are beginning to bloom on the West Coast, where the California Association of Realtors reports that January’s pending home sales increased almost 23 percent compared to December. Active listings of all property types also posted gains in January.
This inverse relationship between home sales and home prices is motivating sellers to list their homes. “In most cases, the declining number of home sales is due to a lack of inventory, which drives home prices up. This puts existing homeowners who are ready to list at an advantage over everyone in the market,” Tyner explains. “According to the National Association of Home Builders, home builder confidence is down, and recent construction rates won’t meet buyer demand this season.”
And if homeowners decide to sell without a real estate agent, the rewards are twofold.
“By-owner sellers control their own selling timeline,” Tyner says. “By planning now to ensure their property is presented at its best, by-owner sellers will have a head start on agent-assisted sellers who decide at the last moment to enter the market.”
As Tyner points out, “There are already a lot of buyers looking for great homes, and there just aren’t that many options. It’s a great time to sell while there’s less competition for the attention of house hunters who are ready to buy now.”
A little curbside TLC and pricing strategy prep now will have sellers ready to roll out the welcome mat and entertain buyers through the spring and summer selling season.
We want to know: Are you planning on listing your home for sale this spring?