The home shopping season will get into gear earlier than expected this year, due to a combination of low mortgage rates, low unemployment and higher wagers, experts say.
January is traditionally a month that sees lots of home buying activity, an indeed in recent years it’s tended to have the second-most number of listing views, according to data from realtor.com.
“The shift to January’s newfound popularity does not mean that the other prime spring months have become less competitive,” said Nicolas Bedo, an economic data analyst for realtor.com. “Realtor.com data shows that views per listing used to ramp up into spring, but now competition starts high in January and stays high … What used to be a lopsided bias for April is now a feverish search starting in January, staying consistently competitive across the first four months of the year as hopeful home buyers look for just the right home.”
Realtor.com’s data suggests that Seattle could be one of the busiest cities on the home buying front in January. The metro area saw the biggest jump in January home shopping with a 32% increase over its next highest month in listing views, according to realtor.com. McAllen, Texas, landed at number two with a 14.9% increase.
“Although it lagged February, January saw a surge, ranking as the top month in 20 of the 100 largest metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Jose, California, and Denver,” Bedo said. For comparison, “in 2018, that was true for just three of the top 100 metros.”