Seven years after the housing market began to collapse, rising prices and thinner inventories are presenting new opportunities for home sellers. Some hot markets are even seeing multiple offers for the same property—a phenomenon rarely seen since the boom years—as buyers become more confident and seek to take advantage of today’s near-record-low mortgage rates.
Home prices nationally climbed 8.3% in December from the same period a year earlier, according to CoreLogic, CLGX -8.15% a real-estate analytics company. The increase was the largest since May 2006 and the 10th consecutive monthly gain. The CoreLogic figures include foreclosures and other distressed sales.
The gains are good news for would-be sellers who have been stranded on the sidelines since home prices peaked in 2006. Nearly one in four homeowners and renters say now is a good time to sell a home, according to a survey released this month by Fannie Mae,FNMA -1.40% the government-backed mortgage company, up from 11% a year earlier.
“You will unambiguously see more people test the water,” says Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist in Leesburg, Va. He expects home prices to rise another 3% this year.
Thinking about selling? You are likely to find a buyer more quickly and at a better price if you factor in local market conditions and recent sales before setting an asking price, burnish your home’s Internet profile and plan ahead for a home appraisal. [emphasis added]
Acting soon may pay off as well. While trends vary by region, buyer search activity generally peaks in March and April, while seller listings peak in July, says Jed Kolko, chief economist at real-estate website Trulia.com. “Most sellers would be better off if they pushed the process up a couple of months,” he says.Sellers could face headwinds if mortgage rates jump or the economy weakens, while the supply of homes for sale is likely to increase over the next few months, creating more competition, say real-estate agents.