Spring is traditionally a peak time for real estate, with many people planning to move as the weather gets warmer. But this year, more people are planning to rent than buy—a reversal of last year’s trend, according to an American Express survey of 1,500 people.
In spite of the fact that less than a third of respondents felt it was a buyer’s market, 46% of people planning to move this year said they want to buy their new home, while 44% said they are looking for a rental. The other 10% hadn’t made up their mind yet. In the same survey last year, renting was the slightly preferred option, with 47% of movers planning to rent and 43% looking to buy—and the same 10% undecided.
Over the last few years, sellers have had the advantage in the real estate market. In 2010, only 40% of sellers surveyed were confident that they would get their asking price. This year 65% of sellers felt sure their homes would bring full-price offers—the highest seller confidence in four years. Also in 2010, 47% of people said it was a buyer’s market, as opposed to this year’s 30%.
Sweetening the deal
Even though sellers felt good about their chances of getting full asking price on their homes, nearly three-quarters (71%) said they were willing to make some concessions to buyers to sell quickly. That’s about even with last year, but it’s an increase of 11% over 2010.
Small things, like a leaky faucet or a cracked windowpane, are easy to fix. Still, fewer people are willing to make those little repairs this year compared with last year. Even organizing and clearing clutter have fallen down on the seller priority list.
In 2013, 69% of respondents said they would repair small leaks and cracks and 66% said they would tidy up and get rid of clutter. In 2014, only 40% were willing to fix those same leaks and cracks, and only 36% planned to organize and declutter.
Other house fixes owners were willing to do to sell saw similar declines over last year:
Painting the interior—down to 36% from 55%
Fixing up landscaping—down to 33% from 49%
Painting exterior—down to 23% from 38%
Updating appliances—down to 19% from 24%
Hiring a cleaning service—down to 14% from 18%
Whether sellers do these things or not, many new homeowners will make improvements of their own. Nearly three-quarters of all respondents, including those staying put and those eyeing a move, said they’d do something to brighten up their houses this year and planned to spend an average of $4,000 on home improvement projects.