8 Reasons Why You Should Buy Yourself a Home This Holiday Season
One of the most sensational years in the history of U.S. real estate is drawing to a close, and the momentum is quieting down a bit, but people are still rushing to buy homes and the housing shortage is far from over. The question that many people are asking themselves is, “Is now the right time to buy a house?” Given the insane demand and the whirlwind rise in the prices of homes, it could seem best to wait out the house hunting fever and proceed with a purchase sometime next year, when the climate could be somewhat calmer.
But what if you’re thinking about buying a house specifically as a kind of gift to yourself for the holidays? It’s quite a mighty present, but it’s not a bad idea. Indeed, there are some genuinely good reasons to snag a new home during this historically off-season time of year.
There Is Less Competition
“One reason to purchase during the holiday season is that you have less competition,” said Rebecca Awram, mortgage advisor at Seniors Lending Centre. “Yes, inventories are still low in many markets, but there tend to be fewer active buyers during the holiday season. And anyone who is willing to list their home over the holiday season is also quite likely a very motivated seller. While there is always a lift in inventory in the spring market to look forward to, there is also a huge surge in buyers out there looking with you. So winter can be a real boon to the eager buyer.”
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Agents May Take You More Seriously
“As a listing agent, I know that the most serious buyers come out at this time,” said Glen Pizzolorusso, a licensed associate real estate broker with Compass in Fairfield County, Connecticut. “Let’s face it, you’re not going to trek through six inches of snow to visit an open house unless you are serious about buying and think this house could be the one.”
Pizzolorusso anticipates more buyers coming out this holiday season given the ferocity of the real estate market right now, but thinks that home shoppers who have been frustrated by losing out to higher bidders, may be in for some yuletide luck.
Real Estate Companies Are Eager To Offload Inventory
“Winter is a time when not only is there less demand for houses, but many real estate companies are looking to sell some of their inventory before the end of the calendar year,” said Omer Reiner, a licensed realtor and the president of FL Cash Home Buyers, LLC. “Therefore, winter could be a good time to buy a house below the prices seen earlier this year.”
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Interest Rates Are Still Historically Low — But Not for Long
“Low interest rates make now a great time to buy a home,” said Bryan Moran, SVP, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. “We know that rates will not stay low, as the Fed has already sped up their timeline on tapering bond purchases. In general, when the Fed is buying bonds, it keeps mortgage interest rates artificially low. As the Fed stops buying bonds, rates will slowly start to increase.”
This action by the Feds could mean rates that will be roughly 0.50% higher, if not more, by the end of 2022, perhaps sooner, Moran estimates, meaning that home buyers will be paying roughly 10% more on the same mortgage this time next year.
The Rates of Home Appreciation Are at All-Time Highs
“In 2021, the National Rate of Home Appreciation approached 20%, which is historically one of the highest levels,” Moran said. “It’s important to know that while we do not expect appreciation to remain at these levels, we are not in a housing bubble and the projections for appreciation are still very high, upwards of 5%. If you consider appreciation of roughly 10%, that means that a $500,000 home today will be $550,000 this time next year. This data proves that ‘waiting the market out’ is not a financially beneficial strategy for consumers.”
It Can Be Easier To Hire Professionals During Off-Season
“It is much easier to hire professionals during the holidays — you won’t have to go through a lot of trouble to contact movers, inspectors and contractors,” said Tom Cafarella, a real estate investor, broker, and owner and founder of Ocean City Development. “This is because the holidays are not typically a buying season. So, most of these professionals are free because they don’t have much work. This gives you more options to choose from and easy access to the professionals you want.”
“During the holiday season, most sellers stay motivated as they want to sell their houses before the year ends,” said Ron Wysocarski, broker and CEO at Wyse Home Team Realty. “Even the mortgage and title companies try to close some more deals during this time of the year. As a result, all the parties participating in the transaction are supposed to do their best in closing the deal quickly. As there are fewer client demands, your agent will be able to help you speed up through the closing.”
Don’t Wait To Build Wealth
“Owning a home is one of the very best ways to build wealth,” Moran said. “According to the Federal Reserve Board Survey of Consumer Finances, the median family net worth for homeowners is 40 times greater than that of renters. Additionally, 62% of net worth for middle-income households are made up of home equity.”
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