Elevated mortgage rates and home prices have made sellers leery about listing this spring. As a result, 50 percent of homesellers said they’ll be aligning their sales with a late-year rate drop.

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Realtor.com’s best week to sell has finally arrived; however, a new survey revealed market headwinds have dampened homesellers’ enthusiasm about the spring market.

Danielle Hale | Realtor.com chief economist

“Plenty of homeowners have been eagerly waiting for mortgage rates to come down so that they can sell their current home and more affordably upgrade to a new one,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said of the portal’s survey findings.

“With mortgage rates expected to ease slowly throughout the year, some potential sellers are planning to get off the sidelines in 2024 and make a move, with the majority expecting to buy a new home at the same time that they sell their current one.”

Of the 1,003 homesellers Realtor.com surveyed, 79 percent said they should’ve sold sooner — noting they missed the chance to benefit from previous cycles of more robust homebuyer activity.

As a result, the share of homesellers who expect to experience a bidding war (12 percent), get an offer within a week (15 percent), and receive offers with waived contingencies (15 percent) has declined by more than 50 percent compared to 2023.

The pain from the decline in seller leverage is intensified by rowdy mortgage rates and boisterous home prices, which make the prospect of re-entering the market as a homebuyer more difficult.

The share of homeowners who plan to sell and buy at the same time declined 11 percent year over year to 73 percent. Of the share of homeowners who plan to juggle dual transactions, 79 percent said they’re still nervous about the prospect of buying a new home with a higher-rate loan.

Sixty-four percent of sellers said they expect the mortgage rate for their new home to be “the same or higher” than their existing rate, and 81 percent said they’re worried about how rates will impact their budget.

Half of homesellers said they’ll wait until rates decline to list their home (a 10 percent decrease from 2023), while 29 percent said personal circumstances have forced them to sell now (a 16 percent increase from 2023).

Homesellers said personal finances are at the center of their decision to sell, with 24 percent saying they want to make a profit and 21 percent saying they want to take advantage of recent price gains.

The average seller said they plan to list for $462,000; however, the majority of sellers (57 percent) hope to sell their homes for between $250,000 and $500,000. Another 24 percent are looking for offers between $500,000-$750,000.

Beyond finances, familial needs are the next driver behind home sales. The reasons to sell included the need to move closer to family (24 percent), the need for more space (23 percent), the need for less space (23 percent), or marriage, children or divorce (18 percent).

Of the 27 percent of homesellers who don’t plan to purchase a new home, 31 percent plan to rent, 33 percent said they already own another place to live, and 26 percent said they plan to move in with family or friends.

Email Marian McPherson

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