English Nederlands German Italian France Russian
Real Estate
Top Offers
Contact us
Market analysis
Buyer info
Our team
US Visas
Housing Remains a Buyer’s Market
A majority of Americans recently surveyed say now is a good time to buy a home. That's no surprise, given that record-low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices are boosting affordability.
Improvements Ahead

Still, various forecasts and surveys suggest better times for the housing market this year:

Sales of existing homes are expected to grow between 2% and 5% in 2012, according a recent forecast from Freddie Mac.

A recent survey of about 1,000 Re/Max real-estate agents found that 39% of agents think prices have hit bottom in their market, while almost 75% think home prices in their markets will have stopped declining by the end of 2012.

The number of improving housing markets rose to 76 in January, from 41 in December, according to the Improving Markets Index, from First American Financial Corp. and the National Association of Home Builders.

Nationwide, home prices are expected to be relatively flat in 2012, says Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital, a provider of real-estate asset-valuation data for financial-services companies. Indeed, 2012 seems to be a turning point before a healthier and sustained recovery in 2013, he says.

If You Can Hold Out

While now still may not be the perfect time to sell a home, it may be time for home sellers to get their places ready for a sale next year.

Of course, markets vary. Prices already are on the rise in some places, including parts of Florida, Washington, D.C., and Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Villacorta says.

But other markets—including Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Las Vegas—continue to be on a "downward slide," according to a December report from Realtor.com.

Either way, holding out until next year could mean a quicker and more profitable sale.

"From a seller's point of view, it's still a little early, though tempting, to put the house up for sale and expect a lot of demand," Mr. Villacorta says. "Unless there are circumstances that dictate they have to sell now, certainly waiting and tracking the markets a little bit more would be a more prudent thing to do."

Still, some sellers have delayed their moving decisions for years now. For those champing at the bit to make a sale and move on with their lives, 2012 may offer glimmers of hope.

"There are a lot of people over the last few years that decided to put their life on hold," says Budge Huskey, president of real-estate brokerage Coldwell Banker. Some now are saying, 'I've waited long enough. I can't put life on hold forever,' " Mr. Huskey says.

The market is finally nearing the point where people who don't need to sell for financial reasons are starting to consider a move for lifestyle-related reasons, he says, such as a growing family that would be more comfortable in a larger home.

The good news for them: Inventory plunged to a 6.2-month supply in December, from a 12.4 month supply in July 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. That means there are fewer sellers competing for buyers. (The month-supply figure is how long it would take to sell all the homes on the market now based on the current rate of sales per month. The higher the number, the more sellers there are looking for buyers.)

If You Can't Wait

If you plan to sell a home this year, get the house in the best possible condition and price it to sell before it hits the market, Mr. Huskey says.

An appealing online listing, complete with quality photographs, is also crucial to bring traffic to your home.

"The buyer has the opportunity to prescreen all the homes online and see only the few that really shine online," Mr. Huskey says, so a seller should do everything he or she can to get on a buyer's shortlist of homes to physically visit.
« Back to news