Like most industries, residential real estate has a seasonality to it. The number of homes sold in the spring is almost always much greater than at any other time of the year. It’s even labeled as the spring buying season. Historically, the number of buyers and listings for sale significantly increase in the spring and remains strong throughout the summer. Once fall sets in, the number of buyers and sellers typically drops off.
Last year, however, that seasonality didn’t happen. The outbreak of the virus and subsequent slowing of the economy limited sales during the spring market. These sales were pushed back later in the year, and last fall and winter saw a dramatic increase in home sales over previous years. The only thing that held the market back was the extremely limited supply of homes for sale.
Some experts thought we’d return to the industry’s normal seasonality this winter with both the number of purchasers and houses available for sale falling off. However, data now shows that neither of those situations will likely occur. Buyer demand is still extremely strong, and it appears we may soon see a somewhat uncharacteristic increase in the number of homes coming to the market.
ShowingTime, which tracks the average number of monthly showings on available homes, indicates buyer activity was slightly lower than at the same time last year but much higher than any of the three previous years.
A report from realtor.com confirms buying activity remains strong in the existing home sales market: “New housing data shows 2021’s feverish home sales pace broke a yearly record in October, . . . with last month marking the eighth straight month of buyers snatching up homes more quickly than the fastest pace in previous years. . . .”
The only question heading into this winter is whether the number of listings available could come close to meeting buyer demand. We may have just received the answer to that question.
Instead of waiting for the normal spring buying market, new research indicates that homeowners thinking about selling are about to put their homes on the market this winter.
George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research for realtor.com, said: “The pandemic has delayed plans for many Americans, and homeowners looking to move on to the next stage of life are no exception. Recent survey data suggests the majority of prospective sellers are actively preparing to enter the market this winter.”
If you’re thinking of buying or selling, now is the time to have a heart-to-heart conversation with me, as things are about to change in an unexpected way.