As we begin a new year (and decade), a few comments about the status of the market are in order.
BUT FIRST: We want to wish you and yours the happiest and most prosperous of New Years!
Now, the market: As 2010 ended, we were still seeing mixed,but hopeful signs of the market and potential recovery. Although there were recent negative reports on the housing market, the monthly Case Shiller being one, there has still been a continuing trail of positive items on the market. Most recently, just at the end of the year, the latest weekly unemployment numbers were release, and they show the lowest number of new claims filings in about two years! Remember, if folks are working, they're much more likely to be home buyers than if they aren't.
Additionally, after about six weeks of very small incremental rises in mortgage rates, the last week shown (a week ago) had a slight drop in mortgage rates. While it is generally agreed that rates "have" to rise at some future point, all signs point to a continuing low mortgage rate level for most of the foreseeable time in 2011. The Fed, in the person of its chairman, Ben Bernanke, have made it explicitly clear that they have no rate increase plans for the foreseeable future so as to not upset the delicate pace of recovery in the economy.
What does all of this mean for you? If you're a buyer, it definitely means get out and start looking for a home to buy! With rates under 5% for 30 year fixed rate money, you're crazy not to! If you're a seller, anything that is a plus for buyers, is also a plus for you, as you'll likely have buyers hot to look at your home, and, if it suits their needs, make you an offer. Also, sellers should be aware that the best time to get their homes out on the market for the large numbers of buyers who are there, cash in hand, is the very early "spring" (a figure of speech). By "spring", I'm not referring to April or May. I'm talking mid-January. True your flowers aren't in bloom, but you'll have far less competition from other homes at this time, and the small army of buyers are there looking to buy. Thus, you have a great chance of getting a good offer for your property!
Why so many buyers so early in the year? Simple! Many are relocation buyers, whose firms have transferred them or just hired them. Why now, particularly on the new hires? They only left for new companies after getting year end bonuses at their old firms. Now, bonus in pocket, they're newly hired and hot to buy! Take advantage--don't wait for them!