It is not easy or advisable to “time the market” with any investment. However, when it comes to housing, timing does matter and now may be an opportune time to sell a property if you are in the market to do so. In fact, www.realtor.com announced that the first week of April is the best time to put a home on the market in 2019. From increased visibility and lower competition to quick sales and higher prices, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that now may be an attractive time to consider listing your property.
Why is the first week of April forecast to be the strongest time to list for 2019? First, properties listed at this time of year are projected to receive 14% more views and 5% less competition. Because of this dynamic, Realtor.com also suggests that homes listed at this time will sell at prices that are 6 percent higher and an average of 6 days faster. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com notes, “June is often considered the peak of home buying season, but our analysis found the first week of April is best for sellers looking to maximize list price, and also reduce the risk of price cuts and competition from other sellers.”
When is the best time to list your property?
The timing of your sale becomes more important as you go up market. According to Tom Hogan, CEO of Action Plus Realty, the largest Century 21 company in New Jersey, “The higher the price point in your specific market, the more important the timing of the cycle is to your sale. If you are selling in the luxury price point, now is your time and the peak window for selling a home ends in August. As a result, sellers should consider a proactive approach and price their home accordingly.”
While housing markets can vary greatly depending on location, the overall real estate market has been healthy for years. A strong economic backdrop and historically low interest rates has helped maintain demand for housing. However, ever since the Federal Reserve embarked on their interest rate hiking, questions persisted about the timing of a housing slowdown that could be driven by the headwind of higher interest rates. After all, higher interest rates mean that buyers can afford less which can result in pricing pressures in housing.
Interestingly, the Federal Reserve recently changed their tone and many analysts have begun forecasting no further increases in interest rates for 2019. This and other factors have resulted in a decline in mortgage rates. In fact, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey for March 28th, mortgage rates experienced the biggest one-week drop in a decade. The average 30-year and 15-year mortgage rates in November of 2018 were as high as 4.94 and 4.36 percent respectively. Today, these rates have declined to 4.06 (30-year) and 3.57 (15-year) percent. According to John Kussmaul, Mortgage Loan Officer at TD Bank serving the East Coast, “I do not anticipate mortgage rates to move higher than 4.5 percent on a 30-year conforming loan in 2019. In fact, it is unlikely that rates move significantly higher anytime soon.”
With interest rates more attractive then they have been in months, some economists expect this to help support a strong housing market – the question is for how long? Danielle Arena, a Realtor serving Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer Counties from Century 21 Action Plus Realty notes, “Because affordability declines with higher interest rates, I see buyers coming out to take advantage of the drop in interest rates this year and I would expect strong demand to continue through 2019.”
Where does the housing market go from here?
Since housing investments make up as much as 18 percent of the U.S. Growth Rate (Association of Home Builders), there is a somewhat reciprocal relationship between housing and the economy. A strong economy feeds a healthy housing market and a healthy housing market is good for the economy. However, some economic indicators are beginning to suggest that we are in the late stages of this economic cycle. Usually characterized by contracting profit margins, a tighter central bank policy, overheated asset prices and higher inflation, our current economy only exhibits some of these traits. The fact is, if we are truly in the late stages of this economic expansion, it may be better to sell in a stronger market and economy.
While the factors noted above may support the attractiveness of selling now, there are many other factors to consider prior to moving forward. Are you downsizing your home or just making a lateral move? Are you selling an investment property with positive cash flow or flipping a property in an attempt to make a profit? It is critical to consider your entire financial position prior to making a decision about whether it is good time to sell a property.
Real estate like all investing involves risk and it is important to do your homework. Since everyone’s situation is unique, consider speaking to your Realtor, Accountant, Financial Adviser and or Attorney to determine the most appropriate approach for you.
Kurt J. Rossi, MBA, CFP®, CRPC®, AIF® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERtm Practitioner & Wealth Advisor. He can be reached for questions at 732-280-7550, kurt.rossi@Independentwm.com, www.bringyourfinancestolife.com & www.Independentwm.com. LPL Financial Member FINRA/SIPC.