Thinking of selling your home? This may be the time

But homeowners are still reluctant to list their homes, said Zillow Senior Economist Jeff Tucker. While the inventory of homes for sale ended this spring, he said it had more to do with buyers retreating than a flood of new homes hitting the market.

“Sellers don’t seem particularly motivated with these high prices or even when it comes to how April and May are the best times to list a home for a quick sale,” Tucker said.

He said the main reason homeowners aren’t flocking to the market for cash is because they still need a place to live. “They’re quite reasonably concerned that they’re going to have to pay more to get somewhere as good or better.”

Tracy Murray Kupferberg, an agent with Douglas Elliman in Long Island, New York, says many sellers are waiting for the right time to strike.

“A lot of people say, ‘Am I making a mistake in waiting because I’m never going to get that dream price again?'” There’s a fear that they might miss out on the high, Kupferberg said.

But there is reason to believe that the peak may be now.

Signs that the market is slowing down

It’s impossible to time the market exactly, but many analysts expect home prices to rise this quarter.

“Inflation could be higher this quarter or in April, May or June,” Tucker said. “This will be the high water mark for the annual rate of appreciation, and then it will slow down.”

There may be signs in the market that the market is starting to cool down. This year, mortgage rates, which have risen at the fastest rate in decades, are now over 5% and are expected to continue rising. As home financing becomes more expensive, buyers have less purchasing power and many give up if they can’t afford a home that suits their needs. This may lead to less competition and some price reductions.

In addition, pending home sales fell for the fifth consecutive month, as did sales of newly constructed single-family homes, according to the National Association of Realtors. That means fewer people are willing or able to buy. And the share of homes listed with price reductions has increased over the past two months, according to

According to Atom, a real estate data company, the average profit on the sale of a mid-priced single-family home fell in the first quarter. While profit margins often shrink during the lean winter months, the latest decline marked the first quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2019 and the largest since the first quarter of 2011.

“Some sellers have really worked in the last two years,” Kupferberg said. “And some buyers did. It was a win-win back then, with inflation and low mortgage rates. It’s different now.”

She said sellers can often be slow to recalibrate after market shifts, still expecting their homes to sell in days with manic bidding wars.

“Prices go up,” she said. “Then it takes a while for sellers to realize that they have to lower their prices. This pool of buyers can’t afford the house because the cost of borrowing has gone up.”

In need of a quick sale

Lotte Vonk was on the fence about selling her house, mostly because she wasn’t sure where her family would go.

With the arrival of her second child in a few months, Vonk knew that space in her suburban Chicago townhouse would be tight. But she couldn’t find many good-looking homes on the market, and home prices and mortgage rates were steadily rising. Still, like most sellers, she knows that if she and her husband don’t sell soon, they’ll miss out on getting the highest price for their home.

“We are very aware that interest rates are going up,” she said. “We were wondering if we could sell this house and buy it now or renovate it to stay.”

How much house can I afford?

They were still looking at new listings on the market, even though they were considering expanding the three-bedroom townhouse where they live with their son, dog and cat.

Earlier this month, they found the perfect five-bedroom house in a nearby neighborhood. After their bid was accepted, they raced to put their house on the market within a week. The offer to buy the new house was based on a sale in mid-May, as they could not afford both houses.

They listed their home last week for $315,000 and had over 20 viewings but no viable offers.

“Everything I knew about the market told me the houses were going to fly off the shelves,” Vonk said. “When things don’t sell, it’s the price or the product. A few years ago there was a gut recovery. I know it’s not the product. So it must be the price.”

They lower the price and see if that brings in a buyer in time.

“I don’t want to lose the house I love,” Vonk said. But she added that she was willing to sell her home for a little less than her dream price just so she could afford the next one.

Staying for now

Kupferberg, a Long Island representative, told the owners when she visited the seller’s home recently that it would sell quickly, even if it needed a little work.

A three-level house with five bedrooms, a pool and a tennis court was becoming too much for an empty-nester to manage, and Kupferberg knew it would be attractive to buyers willing to pay top dollar.

Still, the couple hesitated over whether to sell or continue.

Should you rent or buy?  Ask yourself these four questions

“They don’t want to miss the mark, they know their house will sell right away,” he said. “But if you take the leap now, where will you live?”

Kupferberg says she doesn’t have an easy answer. Most of her clients are homeowners with large homes who want to downsize but want to stay in the community near their grown children or grandchildren, where their church or synagogue is, close enough to a doctor. There aren’t many options.

“I don’t know what to tell people who want to sell but have nowhere to go,” she says. “Unless they don’t have another home or relatives to stay with, to take advantage of what we see at the top end of the sales market.”

Kupferberg said this particular couple was looking for a one-story home in an active, upscale community, but there were few options and they weren’t immediately appealing to them.

“There’s really nothing that meets their needs,” she says. If they are selling, they have nowhere to go, so they are sitting there for now.

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