Winter isn’t exactly your typical home buying season. Most folks are working on their homes, getting them ready to list in the spring. Buyers are scouting neighborhoods, ready to pounce when the market is saturated in March.
However, recent data from realtor.com shows that demand during the month of January remained strong, while low supply has kept prices high.
Properties on the market in January moved four percent faster than this time last year, the report showed.
“We saw evidence of a stronger than normal off-season starting last September and October due to pent-up demand and surging interest from first-time buyers,” said realtor.com chief economist Jonathan Smoke.
How strong is demand? The national media list price is holding stable at $250,000 for January, up 10 percent from last year. This is usually the month when housing prices hit their seasonal lows. There are more reasons that just supply for this increased activity, Smoke added.
“Since the election, demand seems to have intensified – potentially as a reaction to mortgage rates rapidly moving higher,” Smoke said. “The threat of rates approaching multi-year highs in the months ahead is creating a sense of urgency. The downside to this strong off-season is that we have started 2017 with a new low volume of available homes for sale and a new high for prices.”
According to the report, the median age of property listings on realtor.com in January is expected to be 96 days, which is four days fewer than last year. In Dallas, the median age of listings is just 63 days. Still, that’s more days on market than in December, when homes were hanging around MLS for just 58 days. Dallas fell in this monthly “hotness index” ranking from second place last month to fourth this month, beaten by three California metros: Vallejo-Fairfield (59 days on market), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (45), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (47). Rounding out the top five is San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. at 56 days on market.
“This persistent demand is resulting in record-low levels of for-sale housing inventory,” the report stated. “The January trend continues the sharp double-digit decline observed over the last two months, further intensifying the supply shortage. While nearly 360,000 new listings will enter the market in January, the number of homes for sale will still fall short of meeting buyers’ needs.”
Agents and Brokers: What do you think? Is our mild January meaning more showings and bids over last year? Are your buyers having a hard time finding the right home? Tell us in the comments!