Experts say that this December could see a lot more activity in the real estate markets than usual.
Typically, December is the slowest month of the year when it comes to home sales, but this year things are different as numerous buyers have found themselves sidelined all year. And now, they might just try to take advantage of the holiday slowdown to find themselves a new home.
A second reason why we might see more activity this month is that some buyers are still looking to take advantage of lower mortgage rates, before they increase as expected in the New Year.
“I see more people buying right now because they’re afraid rates will be higher in 2019,” Lynn Fairfield, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Suburban in Chicago, told CNBC.
Although rates are still up almost one percent from where they were this time last year, the fact they’re still under 5 percent is still encouraging as it’s lower than the historical average. Freddie Mac said last week that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage currently averages 4.75 percent.
Another reason buyers may decided to move now is lower prices. Housing affordability is a growing issue in the U.S., but recently some markets have seen signs that these problems are easing. In addition, homes are usually priced more cheaply in the winter months anyway, and reports suggest that more properties are seeing price cuts. Almost 29 percent of listings in major markets covered by Redfin saw price reductions during the month ending October 14.
Still, buyers still need to be aware that inventories remain on the low side, and that’s even more true during the winter.
“Though the holiday season is not going to give you plenty of options to choose from, there are reasons why you should not put your home search on hold for the holidays,” Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist, told CNBC. “Chief among them, December is the best time of year if you want to avoid competitions.”