Homebuying for the holidays
The stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's is usually housing-market downtime. Most would-be buyers are busy purchasing other sorts of things at the malls. Would-be sellers sometimes pull their homes off the market entirely to wait for the much brisker spring market.
But this year, some real estate agents are reporting a spike in business.
"I've been really busy over the last month with clients, out either looking for houses or under contract and closing," said John Kantorski, a real estate agent with Cummings & Co. Realtors in Lutherville.
He even got a call about one of his listings that was pulled off for the winter. Buyers wanted to come see it. "That's unusual," he said.
When we chatted last week, Kantorski was about to show another client several homes -- three days before Christmas. "Usually this time of year, I have plenty of free time. Now, not too much," he said.
Tom Harner, broker of Century 21 Associates in Maryland, said his agents are seeing "a lot more activity" as well.
"We're going to see a favorable December -- not a runaway market, but a favorable December," said Harner, whose brokerage has offices in Columbia, Annapolis and Waldorf.
Noah Mumaw, a real estate agent with Yerman, Witman, Gaines & Conklin Realty in Baltimore, was in the middle of a settlement (a slow part) when he chatted with me on Dec. 21. Lack of snow helps, he said.
"I think it's the weather staying warmer just keeps people out and going," he said. "Usually it starts to settle down ... right around Thanksgiving. ... This year it really hasn't. People are out and looking."
Now he's counting on a January slowdown to give him a chance to prepare for the spring market.
As Kantorski noted, this is all anecdotal. We'll see when December figures come out next month whether the holidays were unusually busy for the housing market as a whole.