January 2017,

Happy New Year! We in the real estate industry are very happy to ring-in 2017.  Many real estate industry watchers and economists agree that the real estate market continues to be a bright spot in the economy.

While the results are still coming in, according to the National Association of Realtors© (NAR), existing sales are still expected to close out 2016 at a pace of around 5.42 million, which is an increase over 2015 (5.25 million) and will be the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

One question is still at the forefront of many minds. Will the housing market continue to improve in 2017?  It’s not easy to predict what the market will do in the coming year. However, NAR forecasts that in 2017, sales are expected to grow roughly 2 percent. Additionally, there are some key indicators to follow, and while the recent uptick in mortgage rates and low inventory levels have been challenging, the overall industry indicators are positive.

Most agree that growth in the housing market is largely based on the stability of the job market.  As reported by The New York Times, the U.S. Labor Department has determined that the U.S. labor market is healthy. In fact, as reported for the week ending on Dec. 24, the Labor Department said it was the 95th straight week that claims were below 300,000, the longest stretch since 1970.

For buyers, the message is clear.  If you want to own a home, you should act now. Mortgage rates have risen, rents are increasing, and home prices are gaining momentum. NAR forecasts that the national median existing-home price is expected to increase around 4 percent in 2017. If you are thinking of purchasing a home, it’s important to start your research right now.

For home sellers, the time to sell could be in your favor as well. With lower levels of inventory, you face less competition.  With prices steadily rising, you may find yourself in a position to take advantage of increasing equity.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, it’s important to discuss these factors now so contact a real estate professional who can walk you thru the whole process.

Happy New Year!