Seasonal homebuying patterns have been entirely upended by the COVID-19 pandemic as tighter inventory pushes house hunters into a year-round frenzy, and according to Realtor.com, that trend could continue throughout 2022. Buyer competition will remain elevated as a low supply of homes nationwide causes prices to rise and home sales to move forward at record speeds.
Not only are buyers finding a lack of new construction, but the supply of resale properties is also low as sellers weigh the costs of entering into the other end of an unfavorable market after leaving behind their old properties. Strong home sales are putting an end to market seasonality as unrelenting buyers continue to wade through limited inventory month after month.
“Buyers have to make even shorter-term decisions than last year,” said Nurit Coombe, a broker with The Agency in Washington, D.C. “It’s about getting our clients prepared and ready, and finding listings before they even come onto the market.”
But there are economic variables that could slow buying activity this year and begin to usher in a return to seasonality.
“Many different factors could have an impact, but interest rates are the number one thing,” said Jeff Samuels, a broker with The Agency in Northern California. “If rates go up, on top of prices escalating so quickly, something will have to give, and if things become unaffordable, eventually demand will wane.”