The past year has shown us a multitude of trends in the housing market—higher home prices, housing shortages, developer confidence and rising rent prices.  For 2017, we’re thinking three things: locations, appreciation and interest rates.

Urban areas are appreciating much faster than suburban areas, accounting for growth, and small homes have seen much sharper price growth than larger ones.  Nationally, home prices are expected to keep rising by 3.5% according to Moody’s Analytics projections.  If you have a smaller home in, say, a downtown area, your equity is going to take you further.  As home prices rise, more buyers will inevitably move to the suburbs to find affordable housing.

If you’re looking to trade for a larger home, you’re in the market’s sweet spot, and the first part of 2017 is going to be the best time to strike for that.  The equity from your small house will get you more—the average price on a two-bedroom house climbed 59% nationwide, while four-bedroom houses rose by about 41%, according to more of Moody’s Analytics.  Developers have also continued to add new inventory to the market by building new supply in demanded areas with price points between $500,000 and $750,000. So, if you’re selling a smaller home in the first part of 2017 for an upgrade, you’ll want to choose higher priced offers over offers with quicker closing times. The more cash you have to put towards that down payment, the better off you’ll be.

Following the housing market crash, mortgage rates remained at record lows for years.  Rates are expected to rise to more normal levels, levels seen before the market crash.  The Federal Reserve has already indicated that three more increases to its benchmark rate are coming in 2017.  It’s only advantageous to act sooner rather than later if you’re thinking of buying or selling, especially since future housing policies remain unclear.

There’s a lot of optimism and excitement surrounding your need for a new lease.  “Maybe the next one will be better than the last.” There’s also a lot to realize.  Over the course of your last lease the lease market may have changed.

Fortunately, a lot of the issues that plague renters can be avoided just by being aware of the current market and choosing a lease a little more carefully.  We often work with renters who have had success in setting realistic goals to obtain that new lease, so we’ve outlined a few tips to try:

  1. The grass isn’t always greener.  Be honest about why you’re moving.  Aside from common relocation reasons, ask yourself why it is you’re really looking for a new lease.  Moving is stressful and carries a long list of expenses.  Every living space has its pros and cons, especially in the lease market.
  2. Stop falling in love too soon.  Looking for a lease online is kind of like dating online.  Landlords and agents have ways of manipulating photographs of their units to make them appear cozier and more attractive then they are.  Before you get caught up in the idea of a rental, take the time to schedule a showing and be realistic about it’s affordability and your budget.  Even so, chances are, if you’re in love with it, there might be 10 applications in from 10 other people who love it too.
  3. Craig’s List? Move on.  It’s tempting to answer posts made on Craig’s List, we know, but signing a lease without proper vetting puts you in a dangerous position.  Doing so without representation also does not give you any chance of protecting your interest.  Most Craig’s List listings are fraudulent and out to separate you from your hard earned money.
  4. They’re vetting you, vet them.  Some landlords care about their properties and their tenants while others… not so much.  A good landlord will take your calls and fix leaking toilets and send an exterminator in to deal with an ant problem, all within good reason.  Be sure to run a check on your landlord before signing a rental agreement.  Do a Google search, ask your agent if you can call previous tenants or check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the landlord or property management company.

If you’re looking for a lease, ask us how we can help get you started.