For many years, it was inadvisable for a potential seller to list their home in the middle of a frigid New England winter. From December to April, the local housing market went into hibernation. Nobody wanted to venture out into the cold to visit a snow-covered property when the temperate was in single digits. By the time Rhode Island finally thawed out, the winter listings were bumped to the bottom by an influx of new properties and eventually forgotten about.
Winter started a bit mild, but we’ve had a bitter cold snap and a blizzard. In between, we’ve had plenty of smaller storms. Still, something unusual is taking place in Rhode Island.
Despite the dreary winter weather, buyers are even more active than Mother Nature. While this may come as a surprise to casual observers, this is exactly what RE/MAX of New England projected in January in our 2013 Housing Forecast when we said the “strong finish [of 2012] will act as a springboard to jumpstart growth in 2013.”
According to the RE/MAX of New England January Monthly Housing Report, total transactions for single-family and condominium listings in Rhode Island increased 29.4% year-over-year. This is the largest increase in New England. The level of available inventory in Rhode Island in January also dropped -32%, from 7,470 properties in January 2012 to 5,043 properties in January 2013.
Interest rates have served as the driving force behind this boom in the recovery. They remain at or near historic lows and buyers are anxious to take advantage of these once-in-a-lifetime rates. This has resulted in a unique opportunity for potential sellers.
This winter is one of the most active winters in recent memory. The decline in inventory means there is a high demand for new listings of all types. It’s not a seller’s market, but it is a more balanced market with some sellers actually experiencing the benefits of multiple offers.
Conventional wisdom dictates not to list your home in February. Wait, the experts have always said, until April, May or June. But, it’s time to toss conventional wisdom out the window.
My advice to you is this; if you are on the fence, get in the game. Consider listing your home with one of our RE/MAX Associates before the craze of the spring market.
There is a large group of active buyers ready to take advantage of record low interest rates. If they can’t make an offer on your home, they’ll likely settle for someone else’s home.
Dan Breault is the Executive Vice President and Regional Director at RE/MAX of New England. For more information, visit www.REMAX-NewEngland.com.