Now could be one of the best times to sell your home as the real estate market remains healthy despite ongoing economic concerns and increasing fears about the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the housing market took a hit like other areas of the economy after the coronavirus began to spread across the country. But as the first phase of the virus’ surge subsided, the real estate market improved and has remained strong throughout the year, despite two other spikes in COVID-19 activity.
While the residential real estate market has posted impressive numbers this year, the same can’t be said of commercial real estate, industry veteran Paul Daneshrad notes. A struggling economy, business closures, a shift to remote work, and continued job losses have made conditions much worse in the commercial real estate market as the pandemic rages on into 2021.
But home sellers are being richly rewarded in the current residential real estate market. Continued interest from buyers, low-interest rates, and a lack of inventory has translated to higher prices for sellers, and in some markets multiple bids from buyers interested in their homes.
The National Association of Realtors reported in October that existing-home sales grew for the fifth consecutive month to 6.85 million nationwide. That’s up more than 26 percent from a year ago, according to the Realtors group. The median price was $310,000 or 15 percent more than in September 2019.
Buyers are looking for a new home, in part, thanks to low-interest rates on mortgages that have continued this year. Mortgage rates for housing are anticipated to stay at near 3% over the next 18 months, which will keep buyers interested and the market humming, analysts predict.
Sellers also are benefiting from higher sale prices, too, as median list prices grew 13.5 percent over last year in the second week of December, marking the 17th consecutive week of double-digit price growth, according to Realtor.com. Rising home prices can sometimes stifle buyer demand as affordability becomes a challenge, but with mortgage rates still nearly a whole percentage point below last year’s levels, buyers have not yet faced that problem.
Homes also are selling two weeks faster now as buyers move more quickly than they did last year, the real estate website notes. While that’s an impressive year-over-year number, the pace of sales is slowing from earlier this year when homes were selling even faster.
The slow down is not unusual and actually is more seasonal. But all this buzz in the housing market is unusual in the fall and going into the holiday season when buyers’ interest typically declines. Like everything else in 2020, the real estate market is not following tradition.
All of this is good news for anyone who has thought about selling their home. Chances are it will draw top dollar now and it could even attract multiple buyers to battle over that top price. But be prepared to pay more if you become a buyer looking for a new place to live once your home sells.