If you’ve scoured the real estate market recently, you’ve likely seen increased home prices, low inventory and competitive offers left, right and center. Although, with everything we’ve experienced over the last few years, it’s not hard to understand why the market has responded this way. In addition to many other aspects of the market, the spring buying cycle has been disrupted. Once known for its abundance of inventory, buyers are now being forced to give up their most valued wants and needs in order to secure a purchase. Homebuyers should monitor the market closely, prepare early, and be ready to act when the time is right.
Understanding the Spring Buying Cycle
Traditionally, spring is the most active time of year for home buying. Driven by school schedules, holidays and weather, buyers and sellers agree that this is the best time to put your home on the market or buy new, resulting in increased inventory and high demand. From January through April, home sales are at their peak with some buyers prepared to spend an average of 5% to 10% more just to capture the best inventory of the year. This year alone, 60% of contracts in the month of January received multiple offers nation-wide — up from 47% in November of 2021. In the summer, sales start to slow and once fall arrives, the market ramps back up and the home buying cycle begins again.
Preparing for the Unexpected
Today, the typical spring market that we’ve seen is no longer. A lot has changed in the past few years as a result of the unprecedented disruptions that the market has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Low inventory — less than 1 month compared to the ideal 6-month benchmark — and supply chain issues have reduced volumes and flattened the distribution of home sales across a wider range of time. As a result, this is the year that homebuyers will be left to navigate one of the lowest levels of available inventory yet.
The Factors to Consider
The spring buying cycle has been redefined by COVID-19, but buyer behavior and demographics have also impacted this year’s forecasted trends. With the number of childless adults growing and an unusually high number of investors in the market as a result of low-interest rates — a record-breaking 30% — today’s homebuyers are placing less emphasis on the typical calendar when it comes to timing their home purchases. As interest rates gradually rise, 40% of agents across the nation have seen an increase in buyer urgency, further depleting the already limited supply.
What to Expect in Atlanta
In Atlanta, large corporate relocations have also fueled a rise in the city’s population growth. In addition to those who are native to the region and looking for homes, out-of-state residents are expected to put increased demand on inventory as they relocate. With inventory levels already spread thin, we’ve seen many buyers fight for what remains by settling for limited offerings. This imbalance between buyers and sellers is worsening from year-to-year, with 95% of agents reporting that buyers are continuing to outnumber sellers — rising from 90% in October of 2021. This year, the homebuying industry is forecasted to be a seller’s arena, with home builders racing to deliver new homes to the market against the backdrop of supply chain challenges, inflation, and permitting delays.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
While homebuyers will not see the spring buying cycle of previous years, they need not worry. The most important thing buyers can do is keep a close eye on upcoming housing opportunities, prepare early and position themselves to act when the time is right instead of confining themselves to purchase during the spring buying cycle which has since evolved. The launch of Empire’s three new Intown communities, which are expected to be released in the second quarter of this year, is just one example of the opportunities that homeowners can prepare for. “With Atlanta being ranked #7 in the nation for net migration, we anticipate to continue seeing high demand throughout the year,” said Paul Corley, Empire Communities Regional President. “Empire will continue to add the new homes necessary for our growing city, and encourage buyers to be patient, prepare early, and remain informed of inventory coming online.” Despite the disruption of the spring buying cycle, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for homebuyers after all.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Empire’s new Intown communities are a prime example of the housing opportunities that await. Between Chosewood Parks’ Zephyr, West Midtown’s Longreen and Reynoldstown’s Stein Steel, each community has its own distinctive feel and product designed to suit residents’ varied needs. These three communities are expected to deliver close to 800 homes with phase one releases coming later this Spring. When the property of your choice comes to market, don’t miss the chance to call it home. By getting a feel for the neighborhood — whether it’s by grabbing a coffee at a local shop, attending a yoga class in the area, or going on a walk with your dog — you’ll be able to get a sense of what living in the community is like before you purchase a home. By establishing what you’re looking for prior to making any purchasing decisions, it’ll be easier to sift through the inventory that’s available and establish a best fit. Researching the area’s school district, local attractions and the value of other homes nearby will only make you feel more confident in your future home.
If you’re looking for personalized help, Empire’s Online Sales Counselors (OSCs) are a great resource for Empire-specific community information, but you can always use a trusted real estate agent as well. As experts in the industry, they can offer you in-depth information about a community, sort out non-price-related negotiations and conduct comparative market analyses to ensure you aren’t paying more than a home is worth.
Join the interest list for Empire’s three new communities to be among the first to receive information regarding floor plans, pricing and more when it becomes available. If it’s more homebuyer resources you’re looking for, explore our blog.