Springtime is for selling houses. The months of April, May, June and July typically account for more than 40% of all housing transactions annually, in large part thanks to weather.
But unlike the painful post-bubble home buying seasons of the past several years, this year has kicked off amidst a cornucopia of experts trumpeting the U.S. housing market’s recovery. Inventory is at record lows, home prices are on the upswing and foreclosure activity has ebbed in many parts of the country. In 2012 residential real estate contributed its first positive year of gains to the overall economy since 2005, and the Federal Reserve has repeatedly called housing a “bright spot” of the economy.
The rosy recovery statistics have an increasing number of Americans feeling more confident about the prospect of buying a home. A March survey from Fannie Mae revealed that 48% of consumers believe home prices will rise over the next year — an all-time survey high. And another recent survey, from Prudential Real Estate, found that confidence is at a high of 69% among folks thinking about buying a home.
While promising news for aspiring sellers, it means that many of this year’s spring and summertime buyers will face a markedly different landscape than their predecessors did just a year or two ago. “In many markets around the country we have fundamentally shifted from a buyers’ market to a sellers’ market,” says Budge Huskey, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.