Spring is the traditional kickoff of the home-selling season.
This year, however, many markets across the country are facing the lowest inventory of unsold homes in decades, while buyer interest is soaring.
Realtors increasingly are calling brokers at other companies to find homes to sell and are even knocking on doors asking owners if they want to list their homes. Multiple offers are becoming more common, driving up prices.
Nationally, rising prices mean that 1.4 million people can now sell their home, people who had previously been underwater — that is, their mortgage had been worth more than their home’s market value — according to a recent study by CoreLogic.
The case for selling your home today, rather than waiting until the spring market in March or April, is the subject of this month’s conversation between Lane Hornung, CEO and founder of 8z Real Estate, and John Rebchook, of InsideRealEstateNews.com.
John: Lane, why aren’t more homeowners listing their homes for sale?
Lane: It is somewhat perplexing. I would have guessed by now that the bunker mentality caused by the housing downturn would have passed, but many prospective sellers are still hunkered down. This psychology may be holding the market back. The inactivity of sellers is certainly not being shared by buyers.
John: Why are buyers bullish?
Lane: I think buyers are bullish because they see the market running away from them. If you are an active buyer, you are seeing comparable homes that you looked at six months ago priced 5 percent to 10 percent higher now than when you started. And it’s not just listing prices. Homes are selling for more. This is not esoteric data. This is empirical data that buyers see happening with their own eyes.
John: Is there any indication that this disconnect between buyers and homeowners is changing?
Lane: I think many prospective sellers think we are still in a bad housing market and this is a bad time to sell. The good news is that the strength of the market is starting to permeate down to homeowners and the psychology of sellers may be changing. We just have not seen it manifest itself yet as far as increased listings. Hopefully, we will.
John: Because all the stars seemed to have aligned, does that mean a homeowner should plant a For Sale in their yard?
Lane: It depends on what is going on in that homeowner’s life. Personal needs and desires take precedence over trying to time the market. However, if the conditions in your life are such that you want and/or need to sell, certainly there is no reason to wait.
John: One seasonal cycle already has not held true. Sales in many metro areas increased in December from November and many brokers are seeing brisk sales activity in January. What do you make of that?
Lane: The market is unseasonably active right now. Buyers didn’t take off the period between Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday. They didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to stop looking at houses.
Now, all we need are more houses for them to look at.
John: Thanks Lane.
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.