A typical real estate market moves like clockwork: listings decline in the fall and through the holidays, but when the calendar turns over to a new year—practically at the stroke of midnight the morning of January 1—the switch is flipped and new listings begin to increase, signaling the beginning of another home selling season.
Despite a broad agreement that the housing market hit the bottom in 2012, it is quickly becoming evident that 2013 is still far from a typical market. In November we predicted that increasing seller confidence would lead to “an easing of the big inventory squeeze that has made headlines throughout 2012.” So far that is definitely not the case:
After the first two weeks of the year, new listings are down nearly a third from 2012’s already weak levels, which leads us to ask: where are all the sellers?
There’s certainly no shortage of demand, as many markets closed 2012 with double-digit increases in sales and frequent multiple offers throughout the year. Here at Redfin, website traffic, new contacts, and tour requests are all experiencing strong double-digit year-over-year gains already in January, but without fresh listing inventory to buy, many buyers are going to be met with frustration in 2013 unless more homeowners step up to the plate.
It’s possible that the housing market is just getting a slow start to the year for some reason, but if you’re a homeowner thinking about selling, the message is clear: competition is slim and buyer demand is growing—now is an objectively great time to list your home for sale.
This may come across as a self-serving message, coming as it does from a real estate brokerage with hundreds of agents helping people buy and sell homes throughout the country. Obviously we believe that selling your home with a Redfin listing agent is a great option, but at this point we would be happy for more homeowners to list their homes on the market at all, regardless of who they choose to represent them.
Don’t take our word for it. Search your own neighborhood on Redfin or whatever real estate search site you prefer and see for yourself just how few homes there are for sale near you. If you have a home to sell, why wait?