I’ve been writing about the early start of our spring market for a couple of months now; it’s been largely driven by a few key factors –a lack of inventory, low interest rates and reasonable pricing. Now, as we truly enter the spring market, we’re starting to see median prices increasing for the first time in months.
In fact, every state in New England experienced an increase in median pricing according to our latest RE/MAX of New England Monthly Housing Report.
Year-over-year, Connecticut home sales increased 6.8%; Massachusetts held steady, dipping slightly at -1.3%, however median prices increased 8.9%; New Hampshire sales are up 4.2%; Rhode Island posted the largest year-over-year gains in total home transactions in New England, up 22.1%; Vermont experienced a boost in both total transactions, up 10.6%, and median price, up 18.9%, year-over-year.
In fact, across the U.S.home sales were tracking up in February – up 10.2% above 2012’s transaction numbers according to the National Association of Realtors. This represents the highest sales rate since November of 2009 when homebuyers were incentivized with a federal tax credit to stimulate buying – great news for our industry!
While prices and transactions have largely increased, inventory levels have dropped across Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island over the last year. In fact, on average, they are down 30.8% in these states.
What does this mean to the buyer right now? Well, it certainly means there is even more competition to find a home. Across New England, despite an incredibly harsh winter of blizzards and storms, pending sales in every state are up over this time last year. Connecticutis up 31.6%, followed by Vermontat 21.5%, New Hampshireat 9.1%, Rhode Island at 7.1% and Massachusetts at 1.4%.
What does this mean to the seller? Get motivated and get your home on the market. With inventory down more than 30% in many New England states, there is no better time than the present to list a home.
So, what’s a REALTOR® to do? Encourage your buyers to get prequalified and be able to move quickly if they find a home that suits their budget. Waiting is fast becoming a luxury and buyers stand to lose out on the home of their dreams if they procrastinate. 30-year mortgage rates are still in the mid 3% range and 15-year rates are in the high 2% range; home ownership is an incredibly affordable option.
Similarly with sellers – take action now! Get your home listed and get it priced properly out of the gate. While it seems like a daunting task, talk to a RE/MAX Agent who can educate and guide you along this process.
Today’s market is incredibly exciting for both buyers and sellers. Nothing stimulates an economy more than a robust housing market. And, from all signs, we’re well on our way to economic recovery. The birds are chirping and the sun is shining. Take advantage of this busy spring season and let’s continue the momentum throughout the year.