Every year's housing market is different, and 2017 will be no exception. If you're selling or buying a home this year, what should you expect? What trends will impact how much you pay for a home or how large of a price you can fetch for yours?
Here are three major housing trends to watch this year:
Housing prices across the United States have risen on a year-over-year basis for 59 consecutive months, according to the latest sales report from the National Association of Realtors. And there's little reason to think that trend will stop in 2017.
Consider that the median price of existing homes in January stood at $228,900 in January of this year, an increase of 7.1 percent from the same month in 2016.
Up until 2016, the percentage of first-time buyers in the market had been slipping. That changed last year, according to the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers released in late October last year by the National Association of Realtors. The report said that last year, the share of home sales that went to first-time buyers jumped to 35 percent. That is the highest this number has been since 2013.
This is an important number for home sellers. The influx of first-time buyers into the market is proof that a growing number of consumers have faith in the U.S. housing market. It's evidence, too, that the national economy is strong enough to encourage consumers to make the move from renting to owning. This is all good news for sellers who want to showcase their homes in front of the largest number of possible buyers.
Mortgage interest rates have been at historically low levels for a long time. But they have been slowly ticking upward since the start of 2017. It's a trend that should continue throughout the year.
According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, mortgage interest rates hit a 2017 high for the week ended March 9. The average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan jumped to 4.21 percent, up from 3.68 percent one year earlier.
The good news? Even with the recent increases, mortgage interest rates remain at low levels when compared to historic averages.
Depending on the region a home is in, it is also good to keep the effects of a particularly wet winter in mind as well as environmentally conscious trends. If you live in a desert climate, you may see an interest in a home that is compatible with a solar power system, or has a solar power system, now that solar panels and systems are becoming more affordable. On the other side, buyers and sellers must both be diligent about repairs needed after a wet winter. Many of these repairs will be roofing, concrete (in freezing areas), and waterproofing related.
If you're ready to sell your home this year, knowing what to expect from buyers and competing sellers can give you an edge. It's important, too, to prepare your home for sale. One important step? Get any and all reasonable repairs to your home. Homes that don’t require extensive work are much more attractive to buyers.
About the author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For waterproofing information contact Perma-Dry Waterproofing & Drainage, Inc. Brooke can be reached via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.