Ready For A New Home?

Thinking about buying a home or selling your current one? Stop thinking and start doing. Now is the prime time for both sellers and buyers. Here’s why.

Mortgage rates are rising. After a sharp decline, mortgage rates are starting to inch back up, with a 30-year fixed mortgage averaging just over 4 percent now, according to Bankrate. And analysts expect that trend to continue. That means more buyers are trying to qualify — good news if you’re selling. And, if you’re buying, it’s one more reason to apply now yourself.

Inventory is decreasing. The number of foreclosed homes, which flooded the market and drove down prices, is ebbing. Meanwhile, there are fewer owner-occupied homes on the market. “Inventory is low,” says Tara Waggoner, a real estate agent in Houston, Texas. That means there should be more demand for your home if you’re selling. And if you’re buying? Well, better to look before inventory falls further.

Home prices are increasing. Home prices are up 11 to 12 percent from a year ago, according to the S&P/Case Shiller Index. And that’s likely to continue. “There’s been a steady increase from the beginning of the year in home prices,” says Waggoner. Sure, you might not get as much for your home as you would a year from now. But you’re likely to get a good price, given how much market values have risen in the last year. And if you’re looking? Better to buy before prices get higher. (The upward trend should also help you feel more assured that your new home will retain, even gain, value.)