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Experts Expect Real Estate Market to Heat Up This Spring

Home prices and home sales seemed to take off last year, but the harsh winter slowed things down.
Home prices and home sales seemed to take off last year, but the harsh winter slowed things down.

January and February put a chill on the buying and selling, by most tallies. But with warmer weather around the corner, the market traditionally heats up too.

"People take off their heavy coats and now are looking for more improvement in their lives and also it provides for people to visit more homes in nicer weather," Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, said.

In addition to buyers getting out and about, the National Association of Realtors expects overall expansion in the job market and pent-up demand to boost the spring market.

The recent drop in foreclosures is a promising sign too.

Still, there are some pitfalls, including mortgage rates, creeping upward.

"There are some frictions in the market. The underwriting standards to get mortgages still remain accessibly tight," Yun said. "Furthermore, there is a lack of inventory in many markets, so even though there may be buyers, if they see only few choices, they are not that enthusiastic about making that decision."

Even with tight inventory, buyers are still expected to be price-savvy. Sellers shouldn't be tempted to aim too high.

And remember, real estate is local. A spring survey by Zillow found a seller's edge in the Bay area, San Antonio and Los Angeles, and buyers with the upper hand in areas like Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Tampa.
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