Written by Nathaniel Birdsong, Realty One Broker-In-Charge
Many people pay more attention to the housing market than they did 10 years ago. I think that’s because most people found out, like I did, that the American dream of home ownership isn’t as simple as it used to be. We can’t just expect to buy a home, live in it for five years, and then automatically sell it to buy a bigger home. We’re not here to talk about the results of the 2008 Housing Market, though. We’re here to talk about what we can expect this year in 2017.
If you’ve been waiting to sell your home now might just be the right time. We saw several things happen in 2016 that, after many years, transitioned the Triad from a buyers’ market into a sellers’ market:
Homes sales went up. When looking at 2016 as a whole, home sales in the Triad increased by over 11%. That’s compared to 2015 for the same area.
Number of new listings went down. The amount of new homes listed last year was 2% lower than the year before. That’s a negligible change but still represents less new listings hitting the market over the previous year.
Supply went down. We measure home inventory in terms of the number of months of supply. If no more homes hit the market, and sales stay the same, how long until we run out of homes to sell? Throughout 2015, that number was just under seven months. At the end of 2016, the number was down to almost four months of available supply.
Conclusion? Homes prices are up (almost 5% over 2015) and homes are selling more quickly (almost 20% faster than 2015). If you’ve been waiting to sell, now is the best time in the Triad since the summer of 2007. In fact, the median sales price for homes in the Triad is now higher than it was before the market troubles of 2008.
Many home sellers look at a great market like this and wonder if they still need an agent. With lower inventory and homes moving quickly it seems easier than ever to sell your home yourself; and it is. However, there are still many advantages to using a real estate professional to sell your home. While you may be able to sell it quickly yourself, an agent will make sure you sell it for the best value. Studies continue to show that sellers who use a good listing agent take home more from closing than those who don’t.
It’s also a good idea to rely on the expert opinion of an agent to determine the best places to make investments when preparing your home for the market. Not every update or expense will get a good return. A licensed real estate professional will help you have a better overall selling experience and statistically help you take home more of your equity.
How long will it be a seller’s market?
That’s not a question anyone can answer with absolute certainty. One nice thing about living in the Triad is that our market changes are historically slower and less extreme than in many other places around the country. We get the benefit of watching what happens around us and knowing that our highs and lows should be less dramatic.
Over time, as more people realize the supply is down, there will be more home sellers hitting the market. Builders are also working harder to fill the gaps and take advantage of the increase in home values. These two factors will eventually balance some of the lack of inventory. As inventory goes up, the demand – and the prices – will level out.
Let’s also consider the impact of mortgage rate increases. You’ve likely heard this for a while now, “mortgage rates are going up!” While this is true, the rate increases have been slow to pick up speed. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing changes to their loan programs to help balance the buying power of families looking to purchase homes.
In short, 2017 is THE year for sellers in the Triad.
If, moving into 2018, inventory has leveled and we have seen the mortgage rates move into the 5% – 6% range, then expect a quick transition back into a buyer’s market.
Now is the time to take advantage of the market. You don’t even need to wait for the “busy season.” The right time to sell your home is whenever you are ready. There are buyers in the marketplace right now looking for new inventory, and Realty One’s agents are always available for free, no obligation, in-home consultations for you to discuss your options to sell in more detail.
What if you are buying a home?
If you plan to buy this year, it’s more important than ever to employ the assistance of a great agent. As a buyer, you have more access to home search websites and information than you ever had before. But the market is also more complicated. You have to be more cautious and get advice on the lowest risk homes to buy in a good market.
It can be a good idea to purchase a home that needs minor updates or enhancements. Doing the work yourself over time is a great way to protect the equity you have or to add even more to it.
Having an agent work for you in the State of North Carolina is basically free for you as a buyer, but the value a good agent brings to the table is unmeasurable. If you have thought about buying a home or have begun your search already, contact me for more details on how the process works.
Our agents here at Realty One have been working in the Triad community since long before the events of 2008. We have seen the good and the bad, and we are always prepared to apply our knowledge to help you have an advantage in the market around you. We are looking forward to a great 2017!