CHICAGO, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With the holiday season upon us, those who still have a home to sell may find their most welcome holiday present will be a signed sales contract.
"Certainly in our area the stars seem favorably aligned for sellers this holiday season," said Sergio Cardoso, broker/owner at RE/MAX Countryside in Hoffman Estates, Ill. "Compared to a typical year, there appear to be more potential buyers in the market, and with home prices still rising, those folks want to buy sooner rather than later."
Echoing those sentiments is Liz Sidorowicz of RE/MAX Signature in Chicago.
"Demand for homes is extremely high in Chicago with the exception of areas impacted by a high volume of foreclosures," she noted. "In other neighborhoods, demand for homes continues to exceed the supply."
Over much of 2014, the inventory of homes for sale has remained relatively low in many local markets across northern Illinois. That has helped create a sizable group of buyers who have invested many months in their home search but are still looking.
"No matter the year, buyers who are active during the holiday season tend to be serious buyers, but this year there may be more of them than normal," said Rich Bassford of RE/MAX Elite Homes in Moline, Ill. "One family I'm working with is a great example because they have something very specific in mind in terms of location and wanting acreage for horses, and there just hasn't been much to choose from this year, but they are ready to buy if the right property is listed."
The recent dip in mortgage interest rates to less than 4 percent should also help fuel demand by making homes more affordable. With most long range forecasts predicting higher rates next year, many buyers want to capture the current low rates.
"Every time mortgage rates decline, it increases buyer interest," said Cardoso. He explained that lower rates mean buyers who may have targeted a certain maximum price for their new home can now pay a bit more without seeing the monthly payment rise, or they can stick to their target price and get a lower payment than they anticipated.
Yet another reason to keep a house on the market through the holidays, according to Kat Becker of the Becker Group at RE/MAX Advantage Realty of Antioch, Ill., is that buyers who have cut back on house hunting during the holiday season are coming back into the market faster these days.
"Even just a few years ago, January was often a slow month as far as buyers were concerned, but we've noticed a real change in the last year or two," said Becker. "Once the new year begins, buyers start calling and emailing. They want back in the market. As a result, I'm urging sellers not to take their home off the market during the holidays. That way, their home is ready to show, not only through the holidays but immediately afterwards."
Becker also noted that some buyers who were active earlier in the year but discouraged by the intense competition for the limited supply of top-notch properties are coming back into the market because the pace is slower and multiple-offer situations less intense in winter.
"Right now, we have a fairly balanced market, and in some ways that helps get deals done because neither side feels they are at a disadvantage," she said.
However, some of the best reasons to keep a home on the market through the holidays are true year after year.
"The buyers who are out in the market during the holidays are serious purchasers," said Sidorowicz. "Many are dealing with job changes or transfers, so they need to find something fast, and they have the financial wherewithal to close the purchase quickly."
The other recurring reason that makes the holiday season attractive to sellers is the relative lack of competing properties.
"Some sellers do take their homes off the market briefly during the holidays or, if they haven't yet listed them, will wait until the new year. So, those homes that stay on the market have an advantage," reported Bassford. "I've noticed over the years that the holidays are a time when slightly unusual homes tend to get sold. With fewer choices available, buyers look at these properties more carefully and realize that out-of-the-ordinary isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a real plus."
RE/MAX has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989. The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network, with headquarters in Elgin, Ill., consists of 2,000 sales associates and 100 individually owned and operated RE/MAX offices that provide a full range of residential and commercial brokerage services. Its mobile real estate app and www.illinoisproperty.com provide comprehensive information about residential and commercial property for sale in the region. The northern Illinois network is part of RE/MAX, LLC, a global real estate organization with 90,000+ sales associates in 90+ nations.
Contact: Laura Ortoleva
RE/MAX Northern Illinois
SOURCE RE/MAX Northern Illinois