Home sellers ready for market

After sitting on the sidelines as low mortgage rates fueled homebuyer demand and listing price growth throughout the pandemic, the majority of prospective sellers are eager to enter the housing market within the next six months, according to a new Realtor.com® Survey released today. Although sellers’ expectations for bidding wars and fast-paced sales have only gotten higher since the spring, the potential uptick in new listings offers holiday hope to buyers challenged by the shortage of for-sale homes.

New Realtor.com survey data shows prospective sellers have greater expectations of the current market than in the spring.
New Realtor.com survey data shows prospective sellers have greater expectations of the current market than in the spring.

“The pandemic has delayed plans for many Americans, and homeowners looking to move on to the next stage of life are no exception. Recent survey data suggests the majority of prospective sellers are actively preparing to enter the market this winter,” said George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research for Realtor.com®. “Buyers should be ready for high asking prices and offer deadlines as seller expectations of the upcoming market are greater than in the spring, but an increase in new sellers could mean some relief from the inventory crunch. In addition, as more homes have entered the for-sale market, price growth has moderated from the spring’s double-digit levels to a more approachable 8%-9% range. Seasonality will play a key role in seller activity levels as we approach the typically-slower holiday period, with new listings already slipping in recent weeks. As buyers race against the clock of rising mortgage rates, sellers who price their homes in line with today’s market and stick to their plans will likely see their expectations met.”

Realtor.com®‘s survey of 2,583 consumers, which was conducted online by HarrisX in September-October 2021, found that:

The majority of prospective sellers plan to list before the end of the year or in early 2022.

  • Among homeowners who indicated they will enter the market in the next year, 65% expect to within six months, including 19% who have already listed their home.
  • Compared to the spring (76%), more of today’s prospective sellers (93%) have already taken steps toward listing their home, including working with an agent (28%).
  • More than one-third of prospective sellers, at 36% each, have researched the value of their home and others in their neighborhood, as well as started making repairs or decluttering.

Consumers’ top reasons for selling reflect the rising influence of more time spent at home during COVID.

  • Compared to the spring (15%), nearly two-times as many prospective sellers (33%) have realized they want different home features after spending more time at home.
  • With more sellers having children at home this winter (65%) than in the spring (43%), family considerations are a top reason behind homeowner decisions to enter the market: 37% of prospective sellers say their home no longer meets their family’s needs and 32% want to move closer to friends and family.
  • The rise in remote work is also a key driver this winter: 23% of sellers are looking for a home office and 19% no longer need to live near their workplace, up from 6% in March.

Sellers have greater expectations of the current market this winter than in the spring.

  • Over one-third of today’s prospective sellers are eager to take advantage of the current market and think they can make a profit (35%), up from the spring (24%).
  • When asked how the current market impacts the terms they will ask for, top responses included asking for above what they think their home is currently worth (42%) and asking for a quick close (29%).
  • Compared to the spring, more of today’s prospective sellers anticipate that buyers will compete in bidding wars, offer above asking, forgo contingencies like inspections and appraisals and more. (See table 1 below.)

Today’s prospective sellers plan to list in relatively affordable price ranges and are potentially more willing to compromise if their expectations aren’t met.

  • Sellers with homes at the core of the market ($351,000-$750,000) remained the same over March (29%). However, more sellers plan to list in the $500,001-$750,000 price range, which overlaps with recent median listing prices in increasingly popular first-time buyer cities like Riverside, Calif. ($540,000), Austin ($546,000) and Denver ($600,000).
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of prospective sellers would be willing to accept a lower offer to close quickly versus just over half in March (54%).
  • Compared to Spring sellers, a higher number of today’s prospective sellers plan to take alternative routes like moving in with family (19%), as well as temporarily renting their home back from the buyer (29%). (See table 2 below.)

“The right time to sell your home is a deeply personal decision that has to be right for you and your family. For homeowners who do feel ready to sell, getting pricing right from the start is key to a fast and successful home sale in any market – take the goldilocks approach,” said Lexie Holbert, Home & Living Expert at Realtor.com®. “If you’re looking for resources and tools to help with everything from setting a price to finding your family’s next home at the same time, Realtor.com® users can explore options like initial cash offers from Opendoor in its Seller’s Marketplace.” 

Table 1  
What are your plans after selling your home?March 2021Sept.-Oct. 2021
I plan to buy a next home to move into62%31%
I’m moving in with family5%19%
I’m moving into a retirement home1%16%
I’m planning to rent10%11%
I’m planning to purchase a mobile home/RV2%10%
I’m planning to move into another property that I own7%9%
No plans. I don’t live in the home I’m selling.8%3%
Table 2
Which of the following do you expect to happen as a result of selling your home in 2021?March 2021Sept.-Oct. 2021
Expect buyers to be willing to forgo contingencies like inspections and appraisals to make the deal16%44%
Expect to get my asking price53%43%
Expect to have an offer within a week25%42%
Expect to get more than my asking price24%39%
Expect a bidding war to take place16%38%
Expect an all-cash offer16%35%
Do not expect any of these13%1%

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