If you're looking to sell your house, now is a great time to do it.
"It's a golden opportunity to cash out, the inventory here has been low. So, it's been a seller's market for some time," said Edwin Maldonado.
Maldonado is a real estate agent based in Kingston, New York. This sprawling suburb about two hours away from New York City has seen average home sale prices jump more than 35% year-over-year. That's the highest increase in the country, according to the National Association of Realtors.
"We had no plans to sell our properties — we were in this for the long haul. … But the nature of this industry is, if you can just like the stock market, you want to buy low and sell high. And you know, it's really hard to turn it down when you can wait 10 years to make as much as you may now in one transaction," said Mike Wood.
Homes are being snatched up quickly in Kingston, especially by people wanting to leave the Big Apple for more space. Since the start of the pandemic, Wood has sold three properties in the area.
"One of them, I think went on the market around Labor Day and there were offers — multiple offers in five or six days," Wood said.
Across the country, low-interest rates and a large buyer pool have made competition intense. The typical home now spends just 15 days on the market according to National Association of Realtors data.
"As soon as a home is listed, it's snatched off the market. So if you're going to look for a home, you might not see very many homes because they've already been sold," said Daryl Fairweather, Redfin's chief economist.
There are several factors beyond the pandemic that are driving housing demand. Almost 5 million millennials are turning 30 this year, and many are looking to buy their own homes. And it's now easier to afford a house thanks to the current mortgage rates, which were driven to all-time lows in 2020.
"I think at the very least, we would need mortgage rates to stay where they are in order to continue the pace of demand that we're seeing. But that being said, if mortgage rates were to increase, it puts a little bit of a cool on demand. That wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing," said Fairweather.
In the meantime, Redfin data suggests inventory will continue to stay well below pre-pandemic levels. And over half of the homes that are listed will sell for above-asking price. The national average home-sale price is now sitting at more than $377,000 — a new record.
"You've got a lot of people scrambling to see properties, especially in the certain kind of sweet-spot price ranges, maybe between $200,000-$400,000. And, you know, they need to get in there quickly. They need to be aggressive with their offers," Maldonado said.
"Long term, there's going to be a lot of demand for homes. So I certainly hope that we're able to build enough to supply that demand," said Fairweather.