What to expect in the housing market in 2017

After a relatively calm real estate market in 2016, we can expect some changes to come in 2017, but it is unlikely there will be any tumultuous upheaval in the next year. We have seen inventory come back at a steady pace, and buyer demand is strong enough that it will continue to keep the market moving as we go through the next 12 months.
Here are some specifics of what we can expect in 2017:
Market activity

As we close out 2016, the biggest news is the increase in mortgage rates. The rate rise is sudden relative to the slow pace of any changes over the past several years. We saw this occur immediately after the election results, with continued increases the week following. So far mortgage rates have gone up about 40 basis points, and now that the Federal Reserve has announced its increase to interest rates, we can expect that mortgage rates will continue to rise. The current rates already anticipated a Fed increase and potential positive effects a Donald Trump administration might initially have. Typically, when rates start to go up, buyers will come out of the woodwork earlier in the selling season to try to lock in lower rates while they can.
I would expect rates to keep rising in 2017 if the economy continues to improve and inflationary pressures increase. We should expect the early part of 2017 to be filled with a brisk pace of not only homes going under contract more quickly but also taking less time to reach a settlement date so buyers aren’t subject to their rates expiring before they close on a home. For 2016, the median number of days on market (the amount of time it took for a property to sell) ranged from 44 in the winter to 14 during the peak summer months, but we have seen this drop to as low as nine days during the years when there was little supply to choose from.

Inventory

While it is possible that the days on market could return to that low level in 2017, it is unlikely given the recent trend of an increase in new listings. Sellers have finally regained enough equity in their homes to feel comfortable putting them on the market. Also, because more-expensive mortgages make the overall cost of buying a home increase, we may see price appreciation slow down or, if rates rise considerably, prices could tick downward.
Often when the threat of more-expensive mortgages looms, many homeowners who are thinking they will sell in the next few years consider putting their property on the market sooner rather than later because they don’t want to run the risk of having to sell their home for less than they could get for it now. Thus, early 2017 will see higher activity than usual, but it is unlikely that inventory will be so low that there won’t be enough to carry us through the rest of the year.

Top 10 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

The holiday season from November through January is often considered the worst time to put a home on the market. While the thought of selling your home during the winter months may dampen your holiday spirit, the season does have its advantages: holiday buyers tend to be more serious and competition is less fierce with fewer homes being actively marketed. First, decide if you really need to sell. Really. Once you’ve committed to the challenge, don your gay apparel and follow these tips from Front Door.

Deck the halls, but don’t go overboard.Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes.

Hire a reliable real estate agent.That means someone who will work hard for you and won’t disappear during Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend a listing agent who will go above and beyond to get your home sold. This will ease your stress and give you more time to enjoy the season.

Seek out motivated buyers.Anyone house hunting during the holidays must have a good reason for doing so. Work with your agent to target buyers on a deadline, including people relocating for jobs in your area, investors on tax deadlines, college students and staff, and military personnel, if you live near a military base.

Price it to sell.No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions, many real estate agents advise sellers to slash their prices before putting a home on the market.
Make curb appeal a top priority.When autumn rolls around and the trees start to lose their leaves, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of snow, ice and leaves.

Take top-notch real estate photos.When the weather outside is frightful, homebuyers are likely to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing listings on the Internet. Make a good first impression by offering lots of flattering, high-quality photos of your home. If possible, have a summer or spring photo of your home available so buyers can see how it looks year-round.

Create a video tour for the Web.You’ll get less foot traffic during the holidays thanks to inclement weather and vacation plans. But shooting a video tour and posting it on the Web may attract house hunters who don’t have time to physically see your home or would rather not drive in a snowstorm.
Give house hunters a place to escape from the cold.Make your home feel cozy and inviting during showings by cranking up the heat, playing soft classical music and offering homemade holiday treats. When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home, you also give them more time to admire its best features.
Offer holiday cheer in the form of financing.Bah, humbug! Lenders are scrooges these days, but if you’ve got the means, then why not offer a home loan to a serious buyer? You could get a good rate of return on your money.
Relax — the new year is just around the corner.The holidays are stressful enough with gifts to buy, dinners to prepare and relatives to entertain. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t sell now, there’s always next year, which, luckily, is only a few days away.

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