In this week’s Real Estate News in Brief… we’ll learn about the early April advantage for home sellers, a new normal for median home prices, and why you should do a little “death cleaning” during your time on this planet.
We begin with economic news from this past week, and another month of better-than-expected construction spending. The Census Bureau reported a 1% rise in February which surprised economists. MarketWatch economists had expected a slight decline after a strong 2.5% increase in January, and a month of harsh winter weather. They say the two-month surge suggests a rebound after a decrease toward the end of last year.
Border Battle & the Economy
President Trump has withdrawn his threat to close the border with Mexico after a severe backlash over the potential economic impact. He said, he’s now giving Mexico a one-year warning to stop all the flow of drugs headed to the U.S., and that he’d impose tariffs on car imports from Mexico before he closes the border.
The CEO for Business Roundtable, Joshua Bolten, had issued a warning about the projected economic fallout. He said, it would “severely damage the operations of American Businesses and hurt American workers… that it would back up thousands of trucks, impact billions of dollars of goods each day, cripple supply chains and stall U.S. manufacturing and business activity.” (1)
As Politico reports, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also warned that a border closure would be “incredibly destructive.” Tariffs would also hurt U.S. automakers with manufacturing plants in Mexico including General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.
Long-term mortgage rates were down again this last week. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was down two basis points to an average of 4.08%.
In other news making headlines…
Best Time to Sell Your Home
Home sellers who listed their homes for sale during the first week of April can expect higher prices and quicker sales. According to a report by Realtor.com, listing prices are an average 6% or $17,000 higher and they get 14% more views at the beginning of April.
The report also points out that those listings typically have 5% less competition and that sales close approximately six days sooner. It’s not clear how much of an advantage sellers might have during the rest of April, but the report says that most people list their homes in late spring.
Median Home Price Hits Big Milestone
Buyers may have a tougher time purchasing a home this spring because of affordability issues. Realtor.com says prices are up 7% year-over-year which is a little lower than the 8% increase during the previous year, but the median price also hit a big milestone of $300,000, which may strike some buyers as suddenly “pricey.” (2)
Some cities are seeing lower prices including San José and San Francisco in California; Dallas and Houston, Texas; and Jacksonville, Florida.
The report also shows a jump in inventory, so there will be more to choose from. It shows the national inventory was up 4% year-over-year and that inventory in larger markets was up about 9%.
“Death Cleaning” Defined
The term “death cleaning” is now an official entry in Dictionary.com. It’s used to describe the task of cleaning and tidying up your home before you die so your heirs won’t have to do it later. A linguist at Dictionary.com says, it was added this year “because it’s an interesting term that filled a gap in the English language.” The idea of “death cleaning” reportedly became more mainstream in the U.S. when he English translation came out for a Swedish book called “Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.” (3)
One person who had to finish the job of “death cleaning” that her mother had started before her passing told MarketWatch that her mom was a hoarder and it took her more than two years to get the job done. She also says it inspired her to clean up her own home. And the things you’d like to pass along to grandchildren or other relatives can be given away ahead of time, along with stories as to why they meant so much to you.
(1) Trump & Border
(3) Death Cleaning