Housing market remains tilted in favor of sellers

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 22, 2016

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METRO DETROIT — With historically low interest rates, local real estate agents are encouraging those on the fence to list their homes, especially since a shortage of homes for sale is tipping the scale in the sellers’ direction.

“It has been a seller’s market for quite a few months,” said Kathy Coon, broker/owner of Real Living Great Lakes Real Estate. “This summer, we’re seeing a few more houses coming on the market, but still, at this point in time, buyers are vying for the same property.”

Coon said the summer sales market slows down slightly from the spring, but that happens every year. However, she said a difference this year has been an increase in multiple bids on houses.

With interest rates remarkably low for so long, Coon said there is concern that they may go up, which would then change the dynamics of the market. She said the potential for interest rate increases should spur homeowners to sell sooner rather than later.

“People have gotten used to (low interest rates), so any little bump puts panic into buyers, even if it goes up a little, but it’s much better than several years ago,” Coon said. “When interest rates go up, the prices of homes go down.”

The current climate of the housing market, she said, has given people the confidence to purchase homes. However, she said overall confidence in the economy is still low, which keeps interest rates low.

“(Interest rates are low) so people do invest and do spend money and do buy things,” Coon said. “Actually, mortgages are tied to the bond market. Not so much as credit and cars, but homes and 30-year mortgages are really tied to the bond market.”

 Coon said many of her clients, whether they are upsizing or downsizing, are now seeking to move into a newly constructed development.

“People were trying to get away from the large homes when the housing market fell — in Michigan it was probably 2009-2010,” she said. “And then, as the economy picked up and housing picked up, builders started building again and couldn’t build fast enough.”

Michael Ripinski, a real estate agent with Century 21 Town & County, said the interest rates are lingering around 4 percent, give or take.

As far as the demographics of buyers and types of sought-after residential development, Ripinski said he has not noticed any specific trends.

“I found over the last couple of years it’s all seasonal,” he said. “As you get through summer and move in toward later summer and early fall, it tends to balance out a little bit and inventory catches up to demand.”

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