The new year in real estate began with rising housing prices, low inventory, and heavy buyer demand. Home sales reached their highest level since 2006 as buyers took advantage of low mortgage rates. Connecticut home sales were up 8.5% according to the National Association of Realtors.
The biggest challenge in the market has been the persistent lack of inventory. Pending home sales have decreased across the country for the last three months as a result. There are fewer houses that fit buyers’ search criteria which has led to bidding wars and disappointment. The housing scarcity is not the only feeling of frustration; inflated prices and rising mortgage rates have knocked many buyers out of their dream locations.
The average single home sales price in Fairfield County surged 3.4%. The prices rose to $845,613 in January of 2022, compared to $818,135 last year. Easton’s average home sale price rose from $778,615 to $781,666.
The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by 0.25% this week. This will be the first rate hike in three years. Higher federal funds rates can translate into higher mortgage rates and more expensive home loans. In the current market environment, this is expected to motivate buyers to accelerate their housing search before lenders increase mortgage qualifications and homes become unaffordable.
The past few years have been spectacular for sellers. It has never been easier to sell a house. Multiple offers and sales above the asking price have become the new normal. Although the demand for housing is expected to remain high during the remainder of the year, the potential increase in mortgage rates could bring down housing prices and cool off the market.
For homeowners interested in taking advantage of this hot market, spring is just around the corner. Location, location, location can be a great selling point, but buyers are often looking for move-in ready properties. Applying a fresh coat of paint and removing clutter are good starting points to impress buyers. Professional listing photos can increase interest as most buyers perform their housing searches online. Accurate pricing, home staging and landscaped yards will make one home stand out from the rest and yield top dollar.