You may not think of winter as an ideal season to move. In fact, U.S. Census Bureau data backs up what most of us instinctively know: summer is the most common time to move, with June and August being the most popular moving months of the year. We’re guessing warm weather and school breaks are contributing factors. But if you’re willing to brave the cold (and, hey, it’s really not that bad in markets like Denver and San Francisco), you could reap some big benefits by purchasing a home during wintertime.
Here are five reasons why buying should be in your winter forecast—especially if you’re looking to upgrade from a starter home to a luxury residence in 2019:
Interest Rates are Low
Buying now could help you lock in the lowest possible rate on your mortgage. Experts predict that interest rates will see moderate increases throughout 2019. For example, in its December 2018 forecast, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicted an increase from 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2019 to 4.9 percent in the second quarter. By the third quarter of 2019, interest rates are expected to climb to around 5 percent.
While an increase of 0.2 percent may not sound like a huge deal, it could translate to thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. And that’s no small change!
You can always check out Eave’s real-time rate estimates here.
It’s a Seller’s Market for Starter Homes
Currently, the housing market is favoring buyers who are looking to upgrade from a starter home to a luxury home. Why? When it comes to starter homes, it’s a seller’s market. Inventory is low, and demand is high. That means sellers have greater control over a home’s price point because these types of homes are getting snapped up fast.
Market data illustrates this trend. For example, existing homes with a median home price of $257,700 flew off the market in 36 days in Oct. 2018, according the National Association of Realtors. By comparison, luxury homes stay on the market for an average of 53 days, according to the Institute for Luxury Home Market’s recent report.
Taking advantage of these market conditions now could be beneficial since housing appreciation trends are starting to shift. According to recent home sales data, starter homes have appreciated in value by 3.8 percent from Oct. 2017 to present. But they actually dipped in value by about .6 percent between Sept. 2018 and Nov. 2018. So it might be a good idea to sell while starter homes remain in high demand with strong prices.
It’s a Buyer’s Market for Luxury Homes
While the market is on the seller’s side when it comes to starter homes, it swings to the favor of buyers in the luxury market. According to the data, inventory of luxury homes is up 68.9 percent since Nov. 2017. By comparison, inventory in the starter home market is only up 2.8 percent since Oct. 2017. Taking advantage of these winter market conditions could make financial sense while mortgage rates and luxury home prices remain relatively low.
There’s Less Competition in the Winter
Since inventory is low in the starter home market, you won’t be at a disadvantage by putting your home up for sale in the wintertime. Plus, some potential buyers file their taxes early and have refund money they’re ready to invest into a down payment. And when it comes to buying luxury homes, you’ll have less competition, which means you could could score an even better deal on your next home purchase. Luxury homes are selling for about 97 percent of their listing prices, according to the Institute for Luxury Home Market’s recent report.
You Can Stop Putting Money Towards Upgrades
Winter months usually translate to more time spent inside, and that likely means you’ve got a mental list of upgrades you’d like to make to your starter home. A more efficient HVAC system! Windows with better insulation! A cozy fireplace! Instead of putting the money into upgrades, though, you could move into your dream home that comes with all types of amenities you’ll enjoy throughout the winter months. Hot tub, anyone?
At Eave, we benchmark our rates daily, so you get the best possible deal on your mortgage. Check out our real-time mortgage rates here.