Are you a winter house hunter?  Whether you are pessimistic or optimistic about the current housing market, let’s examine some special house hunting facts for this time of year.  One thing is almost certain if you are house hunting this particular winter, 2018-2019.  You will have fewer choices if you house hunt now as opposed to, late spring or early summer.

This is because “Overall housing inventory declined from 1.88 million available homes in September to 1.85 million…”  However, there is a good side to this statistic.  That number stands for half-million more listings than in October of 2017.

Winter House Hunting:  Would You Like to Shop for Your Home at a Gentler Pace?

Winter may be the best of all season for house hunting

Florida Invites House Hunting All Year Around

If you would like to shop for a house in a quieter, less stressed time, winter is your best time.  Retail merchandise is accelerated and almost frenetic, due to the holiday gift shopping.  But it is a quiet time to shop for your house.

Financial expert Yun stated, “As more inventory enters the market and we head into the winter season, home price growth has begun to slow more meaningfully…” And he added, “This allows for much more manageable, less frenzied buying conditions.”

Let’s Check Some Winter House Hunting Numbers

Nationally we see that the unsold inventory of available homes is at a “4.3-month supply at the current sales pace.”

That’s down from 4.4 last month
And it’s up from 3.9 months a year ago.
Overall, experts average that “Properties typically stayed on the market for 33 days in October, up from 32 days in September but down from 34 days a year ago.”  Forty-six percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.”

Are You a First House Hunter and Home Buyer This Winter?

If you are a first-time buyer in the home market, you need to know several factors.  Watch the financial news and see what changes.

  • “Rising interest rates and increasing home prices continue to suppress the rate of first-time homebuyers.
  • Many experts say, “Home sales could further decline before stabilizing.”
  • Again, for your area, for this winter, will that be a bad thing?
  • If sellers, realtors, and others are selling fewer houses, will you get better service?
  • Do winter house hunters experience less competition and fewer negotiations?
  • Read on to discover the implied answer to these questions.

Federal Reserve Policy Changes?

Likewise, it is possible the Federal Reserve will “re-evaluate its monetary policy of tightening credit, especially in light of softening inflationary pressures…”  So, might winter house hunters find better deals and easier credit terms?

The Federal Reserve might soften its credit terms “to help ease the financial burden on potential first-time buyers.”
Moreover, the Federal Reserve has an eye on such details.  And they want to make certain, that a so-called, “slump in the market causes no lasting damage to the economy.”

A Fall Analysis of Home Buyers and Predictions of Good Things for Winter House Hunters

Winter move in can bring fun and great deals

Fun During Move into New Home

We can look at statistics and see who shopped and bought homes in October.  If you are a first-time buyer, it might surprise you that 31 percent of October’s home sales were to first-timers.  That a pretty good number for beginners, don’t you think?  Keep in mind, that number is down from the previous September and October sales.

Here is a number that is up:  “Individual investors purchased 15 percent of homes.”  That is up 2 points from last October by comparison.  Likewise, it’s up by 2 points from this September.

We find it surprising that cash sales made up 23 percent of all transactions.  That number is also slightly higher than in September and October 2017. (So, go ahead and raid your piggy bank!)

3 percent of sales went to distressed sales, foreclosures and short sales.  This amount is the same as it was in September.  And actually, it is 1 percentage point lower than in 2017.  So this is the lowest these decidedly sadder sales have been since 2008.

Did You Know that Nationally, the Sale of Homes are Up in Several Regions of the US?

If you are a winter house hunter, you are not alone.  In spite of the gloom-and-doom predictions some financial pundits have embraced, sales of homes are actually up in 3 of the 4 major areas of the US.

Looking to the Northeast, we see sales of existing home gained 1.5 percent.  This meant they made an annual rate of 690,000.  That does not sound so bad.  But it is 6.8 percent below a year ago.  You might have to pay a little more than last year.  “The median price in the Northeast was $280,900.  However, that is only 3.0 percent higher than last October.

January May Be the Best Winter Month to Buy Your Home

Moving Boxes Can Be Great Fun and January Can Bring Great Deals.

So let’s check out the Mid-west.  In that area “existing-home sales declined 0.8 percent from last month and 3.1 percent on an annual basis.  Those statistics still mean sales went to 1.27 million in October.  That’s quite a few homes.  In the Midwest, homes went for a median price of $197,000.  That is actually a 2.4 percent annual gain over last October.

Moving to the Southern US, we can see that existing-home sales rose 1.9 percent.  That means the sales of 2.15 million units.  But that is a slight annual decline of 2.3 percent.  We also see a 3.8 percent increase in the area’s median price.  That means the median price of a home in the region went up to $221,600.

Last but not least, we see the growth of home sales by 2.8 percent in the West.  Sales went to 1.11 million.
However, that number is down 11.2 percent from the previous October.  We saw the median prices of homes in the western US increase 1.9 percent, making the median price $382,900.

Let’s Take a Look at Florida Numbers Especially for Winter House Hunters

It only seems appropriate that we also reveal a few statistics that zone in on our own home state.  Here’s what a quick study of statistics brings you in our home state:

  • First of all, you should know that in the current market, as of October, 2018 the median home value in Florida is $228,700.
  • You should also be aware that the median price of homes currently listed in Florida is $289,900.
  • In a dose of reality, you should also realize that the median price of homes that sold is $217,300.

Details on Florida Data as You Head out To Winter House Hunting Excursions

However, experts at Zillow have predicted that home prices will rise again about 5.2% over the months of 2019.  So perhaps house hunters in this winter market are not irrational optimists after all!  Those of us that live in Florida might not be surprised that this is an 8.1% price increase that has happened during 2018.

Another valuable statistic from the experts at Zillow might be that median list price per square foot in Florida is $166.   But you also might give serious thought to the disadvantages of renting at the median price of $1800.00 per month.

So—Is Winter a Good Time to Buy a House?

Winter shopping can produce great deals on mortgages as well as homes

Great Deals and Mortgages for Winter Shoppers

The Financial Samurai, expertly researched this question in depth over a space of years.  He stated that winter is the best time to actually buy a house.  He stated this quite simply.  “January has the lowest median sales price at closing and stays on the market the longest = the best time to buy a home.  February is also a great time to buy a house as well.  Conversely, June is the worst month to buy a property due to its highest median sales price at closing and shortest days on market.”

Such remarks are only an opinion.  But they have merit.  Winter might show a house at its worst in some parts of our country.  But we need to not dig through ice and snow in the Florida housing market.  So, your heart and your budget tell you winter is the time to house hunt.  We of Palm State Mortgage Company are here to help you find the best mortgage for your financial situation.