Gazing into 2013’s Real Estate Crystal Ball

Crystal-Ball‘Tis the season for prognostication about the 2013 real estate market. We track home sale and pricing numbers closely, from national numbers to regional, state, county, and neighborhoods. We also read what the various industry experts have to say about trends in real estate.

The funny thing is – everyone is pretty much saying the same thing. Whether that’s good or bad, at least it’s consistent! Here’s a sampling of predictions:

RIS Media headline – “Housing Recovery Set to Continue”- price gains for the Northeast expected to be about 1.4%, with more people returning to the market

Forbes – “The housing market will improve moderately in 2013, but nobody will mistake this for a boom. The gains in activity and prices will be a welcome relief, but will leave many homeowners still underwater.”

Dave Liniger, founder of Re/Max – “More Homebuyers and Sellers come back to the market. Homes sales will rise by 6-7% and prices rise by 3-4%. The inventory of homes for sale will hit a bottom. Higher-priced homes begin to sell.”

I could go on, but the more I read, the more similar all the predictions become.

2012 was really a tale of two markets in our area. On the one hand, homes under $400k in the Baltimore/Washington area were selling like hotcakes, while anything priced over $500k took a while to sell. With that pricier home, it had to be clean, neat, well staged, and properly marketed!

There’s still quite a bit of competition in the $500k and up market in the area, so you really need to come out of the gate strong. If you’re under $400k, there are more buyers out there, but remember that you will always realize a better sale price with the aforementioned cleanup, staging, and expert marketing.

Of course, nothing matters as much as the micro level. What are homes selling for in your neighborhood? How long does it take them to sell? Are they marketed well? Did the sellers take the time to make sure their first impression was a knockout? Important questions, all of which are reflected in eventual sale price. And that, indirectly, affects what your house is worth.

So we enter 2013 with confidence. May all your real estate dreams come true!

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors, based in Ellicott City, MD. She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or [email protected]

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