Spring has come early for the real estate market in western Massachusetts.
Whether that's good or bad news may depend on whether you are a buyer or a seller.
2017 was generally considered a big sellers market and 2018 is already shaping up to be the same.
However, with interest rates likely on the rise in the near future, the Realtor Association of the Pioneer Valley said that there's actually opportunities ahead for buyers and sellers.
"The market is strong. What we're seeing is a continuation of the sellers market of 2017, so that translates to not much inventory, lots of demand," said Edward Alford, president of the Realtor Association of the Pioneer Valley.
Drive around western Massachusetts and for sale signs in many communities are hard to come by.
If you come across a house you like that's priced appropriately, "There's a good likelihood that there'll be lots of demand, lots of interest and quite likely multiple offers...just because there's ongoing pent up demand from the fall," Alford added.
There's good news if you're a seller, but not so much if you're a buyer.
Alford told Western Mass News that spring, traditionally the busiest time for any real estate market, has already sprung in western Massachusetts.
"Number one is that during the recession, a lot of the home building stopped, so there's not enough new construction to fuel the market and another thing that has happened is household incomes haven't risen as fast as the cost for houses," Alford noted.
According to industry analysts like Kipplinger, the Federal Reserve will likely raise short-term interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point three times in 2018. The first likely in March.
"Right now, we're in the four percent range, shortly seeing probably in the 4.3 and it's anticipated by the end of 2018, mortgage rates will be hovering around the five percent range, so there is additional incentive to buy now," Alford said.
For buyers, still good historically, but Alford said that those planning to start the house hunt this spring may want to start now.
"I would recommend that anyone who is going to be a buyer in this market have all their ducks in a row and be pre-approved," Alford explained.
Being pre-approved and pre-qualified are two very different things. Alford said you want to be pre-approved, which means you actually have money to back up your offer.
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