A: What's happening with real estate in your local area is far more important than the national trend. With that said, the U.S. housing market, in general, looks pretty good for sellers right now. Home prices have been rising steadily in recent years, and BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research expects that trend to continue in 2016, although at a slower pace.
But again, the situation may be different where you live. Prices have stabilized in some markets while in others strong demand is driving up prices or local layoffs have undercut value. Your real estate agent should be plugged into the various factors that can help determine your asking price. Other conditions, such as rezoning, new home construction, changes in roads, tax issues, conveniences, and the business climate should all be considered.
Be aware, too, that if the Federal Reserve holds to its strategy of gradually increasing interest rates, mortgage rates will likely increase as well. Over time, that could depress the housing market to some degree. So, if you're certain you want to sell—if, for instance, your family's growing and you need more room, or you're about to retire and know you want to relocate or downsize—it might be wise to consider moving sooner rather than later.
"Keep in mind that if your goal is saving money, you may not have to move."
Keep in mind that if your goal is saving money, you may not have to move. If your current interest rate is more than 5%, consider refinancing. Doing so could lower your monthly mortgage payment and free up some cash to use for any number of worthwhile projects, from adding a patio, paying off debt, covering college tuition, or addressing an overdue home repair.
Before you make any move, be clear in identifying what you hope to accomplish: think about why you are doing it, where you want to live, and what kind of lifestyle you're looking for. Also keep an eye on the future—your family situation, your health, and your financial priorities may change, requiring you to move all over again.
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We'll answer frequently asked questions here.
3 Questions to Ask Your Advisor
- Is refinancing a workable option for me?
- How is the current economy likely to affect interest rates?
- How could the proceeds from a home sale get me closer to my goals?