This winter is expected to be unseasonably hot for the housing market.
“Compared to other past winter seasons, this winter season’s sales activity will be stronger,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®. “This winter, there will be more sales compared to pre-pandemic winters going back all the way to 2006.”
The momentum from the last few months is expected to continue. From March through October, homes have been selling faster than they traditionally do.
“Although there are fewer buyers in the winter months than in the competitive spring and summer period, all signs suggest that housing demand remains high,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist.
Housing inventories remain tight. The inventory of unsold homes fell by 12% in October compared to last year, according to NAR data. A limited supply of homes for sale is an ongoing issue for the housing market against continued strong demand among potential home buyers.
Homes are selling fast. Eighty-two percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR data.
“Many sellers should not feel the need to wait until spring, especially in high-demand areas,” Kelly Mangold, principal at RCLCO Real Estate Consulting, told realtor.com®.
Buyers may feel more rushed and may try to qualify for historically low mortgage rates ahead of any more rises. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.10% last week, according to Freddie Mac. NAR is forecasting that rates will increase to 3.50% by the middle of 2022.
Home price increases may be leveling off somewhat, too. “The days of fast price gains are over,” Yun says. “There will be few pockets of the market where bidding wars do occur, but sellers should expect much less than what was occurring the past 12 months. Home prices generally will be higher price compared to one year ago, but maybe a bit lower compared to what occurred in the summer.”