U.S. Housing Market Makes Significant Gains in March

housesoldMarch was a good month for U.S. home sales, according to figures released April 22 by the National Association of Realtors.

“We may be seeing the beginning of things getting close to what we would call a normal market,” Tom Lawler, a housing economist, told the Associated Press.

Sales of existing homes rose by 6.1%, suggesting that the housing market may be stabilizing after the boom, bust and slow recovery that have characterized the last dozen years or so.

It’s still not clear, however, whether the gains seen in March are sustainable. Many of those sales were in the Northeast and Midwest — areas that have seen unusually harsh winter storms — so recovery in those regional markets was to be expected and may not indicate lasting recovery.

All eyes will now be on the association’s monthly report covering pending home sales, due to be released next week, as that will provide more information on the overall strength of the national market.

Strategizing to Sell
For homeowners hoping to put their homes on the market during this surge (or to finally sell a home that’s been on the market for too long) real estate agents are saying that proper strategies, including staging, are key. That’s true especially because the uptick is likely to lead to an increase in listings, which means homeowners will need to distinguish their properties from all the others in their area.

Home staging is when a homeowner or professional cleans up and redecorates a space to make it more appealing to buyers or to demonstrate how a space could be lived in.

The 2015 Investment and Home Buyers Survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors showed that staging can lessen the number of days a house stays on the market and increase the value of offers.

It’s easy for homeowners to overlook small flaws in their homes that they live with everyday — cluttered counters, frayed rugs, chipped paint — but many of these can be fixed up for just a few hundred dollars so they aren’t a turn-off for buyers.

“Adding an oriental rug to a living room or an area of your home can dramatically change the space and the feel of your home,” says Roj Azari, Owner, Oriental Rugs of Scottsdale. “Oriental rugs come in all sizes and add color and texture.”