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Winter is Coming: And it looks great! By Fidelity Mortgage

Winter has traditionally been the slowest season for the housing market for years, if not decades.

With the cold weather, the holidays and the coronavirus, you might expect the same in 2020-21, with buyers and sellers hibernating until the spring, or maybe waiting out a vaccine.

But it’s becoming crystal clear that’s not the way the winter market is going to go at all. Just like the last nine months, the next three are cued up to be “unlike any other.’

After the pandemic lockdowns caused a veritable “silent spring” for home sales in March and April, pent-up demand began to swell by early summer, and caught more late-year momentum through the fall.

As the holidays blow in, most kids are still attending school from home, and millions are working remotely. As coronavirus cases rise, more lockdowns seem assured, fundamentally changing how, when and where buyers are looking.

COVID-19 created buyers purely in the market because they’re realizing their space is no longer big enough – even more so as temperatures drop. When it’s cold, they can’t easily escape to the garage or their back patio.

That kind of demand likely won’t wane anytime soon, especially if it looks like their companies will allow working from home into the spring and beyond. Those who still have jobs may continue to shop for larger homes farther outside cities – great news for ex-urban and rural sellers.

The annual sales pace swelled to 5.88 million in September, up an astonishing 26.7% from a year earlier. The median existing-home price was $313,000, 15.5% more than the October 2019 and the 104th straight month with year-over-year gains.

As prices continue to rise on mounting demand, mortgage rates are still remarkably low, and tantalizing. In short, this winter could be an excellent time to sell a home. Even if overall activity slows, demand is still so heated, experts say price growth will likely continue well into next year.

Listing prices during the first week of November logged double-digit growth, up 12.9% year-over-year, and typically remained on the market for 21 days in September – an all-time low.

With most health experts predicting an effective COVID-19 vaccine in the next year, mortgage rates may soon be on the rise again. That means motivated buyers may be pressing to find a home sooner rather than later.