The housing market saw a resurgence in sales and prices in 2013, and the new year is poised for steady growth. However, last year's market was significantly affected by low levels of inventory. Though buyers were qualifying for mortgage rates, they became frustrated by the little homes available.
And while steady home gains helped convince many sellers to put their homes on the market, inventory still remains low. However, for potential sellers in certain areas, 2014 might be the time to sell.
ZipRealty, a residential real estate broker firm and marketing solutions provider, released a list of the best metropolitan areas for home sellers in 2014. They based the information on median sales prices, median days on the market and total housing inventory per capita.
Lanny Baker, CEO of ZipRealty, said the real estate markets in the west jumped compared to the rest of the country last year, and while these metros are expected to show strong gains in 2014, it won't like be at the robust levels of 2013.
Here's the list of the 10 best metros for sellers:
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Sacramento, Calif.
- San Diego
- Las Vegas
- Orange County, Calif.
- Los Angeles
- Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia
ZipRealty named the San Francisco Bay Area at the top of its list because median sales price have jumped 35 percent since 2012 and homes are only on the market for an average of 19 days.
"For home sellers in today's market, finding the right real estate agent to list your home could help you attain the highest possible listing price," said Van Davis, president of brokerage operations for ZipRealty. "The Internet is a great place to start informing yourself about agent qualifications and expertise. Many tools are available online, including agent ratings and reviews. It's important to find an agent you are comfortable talking with, who can work with your schedule and is responsive to your needs. Scheduling a few interviews to make your final selection is also an excellent idea."
The Internet is also a great resource for locating a home inspection company. Those in the process of buying a home will want to hire their own unbiased home inspector to examine the property. This process can help buyers determine if the price of the home is worth it, as there could be previously unforeseen issues with the home.
Buyers optimistic in 2014
While many sellers will be in a good position in the new year, buyers are also seeing historically low mortgage rates.
The January National Housing Survey from Fannie Mae showed that 52 percent of respondents believe it will be easy to get a mortgage this year, up from 2 percent in the previous survey and marking an all-time high. Furthermore, the average price expectation for the next 12 months fell 2 percent in January, indicating that the robust price gains of 2013 will likely ease.
"The gradual upward trend in this indicator during the last few months bodes well for the housing recovery and may be contributing to this month's increase in consumers' intention to buy rather than rent their next home," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "The dip in overall home price expectations, though notable, is consistent with our view of moderating home price gains this year from a robust pace last year, while positive trends in perceptions about the economy and personal finances over the next year support our view of stronger growth in the broader economy."
Those buying or selling a home in the new year are encouraged to enlist the help of reputable professionals. Everyone from a real estate agent to a home inspector can make the process more efficient.