Bargain prices on housing combined with low interest rates below 5 percent may bring the real estate market its busiest spring season in years, economists say.
Distressed sales continue to put downward pressure on home prices, which may lure more buyers off the fence and ready to snag a deal during the typical prime-time buying season.
Some builders are ramping up discounts on new homes as well as boosting commissions to brokers to try to spark more transactions.
Sellers of existing-homes also are getting more competitive in pricing their homes.
“After three years of the housing downturn, people are becoming much more realistic in terms of valuing their homes,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®.
An improved job market with better income potential may also motivate more people to buy, says David Berson of the PMI Group.
“Household formations are also very important,” Berson says. “Kids may have moved back in with their parents, or two people may have moved in together, because of job concerns. Now they can move into their own place.”
While interest rates are sitting comfortably below 5 percent for now (30-year fixed rates averaged 4.76 percent last week), economists warn the attractive low rates won’t last long.
“Few think mortgage rates are going lower,” says Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics chief economist. “It’s more likely they will be 6 percent than 4 percent next spring. This lights a fire under buyers.”
Source: “Discounts Expected in Spring Housing Market,” The Wall Street Journal (March 22, 2011)