Few people are predicting that 2020 will be a record-breaking year for home sale prices.
But relatively speaking, 2020 might be the best time to put your house on the market. Especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next, it may be better to sell in an environment that's more predictable, rather than wait for time to pass and circumstances to change.
Ryan Gorman, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker NRT, predicts that the housing market will be “increasingly healthy” in 2020 – meaning home prices will continue to rise, but at a moderate pace. This means homebuyers are less likely to face affordability issues, and there will be a better balance between supply and demand for housing than in previous years when supply was limited.
If you bought your house in the past few years, still love it and don’t want to part with it, go ahead and wait another five years before revisiting the thought of selling. But if you’re weighing your options to sell and are considering selling this year or next, don’t play the waiting game.
Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2020:
New Buyers Are Still Entering the Market
If your house is at the higher end of the price range in your market, you should expect less buyer interest than in previous years. If your home is considered in the entry-level or midlevel price range for your city, however, expect to have interested buyers eager to move quickly.
The biggest wave of new homebuyers will continue to be millennials, who are mostly first-time homebuyers. But depending on where you live, you may see the youngest generation of adults breaking into homeownership as well. Members of Generation Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are largely still too young to make up a significant portion of the homebuyer market.
But Gorman says he's already seeing small numbers of Gen Z homebuyers buying in more affordable Midwestern cities, “where home prices have grown, but not as dramatically,” such as Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska.
Interest Rates Are Expected to Remain Low
Interest rates are expected to remain low throughout 2020, which will help new buyers obtain financing for their first home purchase. The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged in December 2019 with the target range of 1.5% to 1.75% and noted its intention to keep rates as-is throughout 2020.
While the Fed’s recommendation plays a role in mortgage interest rates, the interest rate lenders offer to homebuyers varies based on the individual and the market. On Jan. 2, the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.72%. While some fluctuation is expected throughout the year, Daryl Fairweather, chief economist for national real estate brokerage Redfin, predicts mortgage rates will stabilize at about 3.8% this year, which is still low enough to encourage buyers to enter the market.
“It’s basically setting the stage for a continued rise in home sales,” says Reese Stewart, a real estate agent with Re/Max Properties SW and president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association in Florida.
Low interest rates aren’t just a helpful nudge for would-be buyers to consider your home for purchase. As you look to your next home purchase, you can likely secure a low interest rate as well.
You Have High Equity
If you’ve been in your home for more than a couple years, you’ve been building equity as the property value increases and you make consistent mortgage payments. The more equity you have in your home, the more profit you'll likely see when you sell the property. That, in turn, can be used for a larger down payment on your next house, other expenses or savings.
“Especially for someone who bought post-recession, they’re in a good place to sell right now,” Stewart says.
Whether you’re hoping to step up into a larger home or a more desirable neighborhood, significant equity in your current home can only help, making you a more desirable prospect to both mortgage lenders and home sellers considering offers.
But you’ll likely need to sell your current home before closing on a new one. With this in mind, Wendy Gilch founded Selling Later, a real estate marketing platform that allows homeowners to post their property information and photos prior to listing it for sale, noting the planned listing date. This service, launched in Gilch’s hometown of Pittsburgh but now available nationwide, can help sellers figure out their timeline over the next few months.
“That dream home down the street is selling in June – maybe that’s a good time to put your home on the market,” Gilch says.
There’s No Telling What 2021 Holds
According to the National Association for Business Economics Outlook Survey for December 2019, none of the 53 professional forecasters surveyed expect a recession in 2020, though GDP growth is expected to slow. On the other hand, 2021 is a different story: Respondents estimate a 66% chance of a recession starting by mid-2021.
There’s no need to fear a massive housing crisis like the one that occurred in the last recession, which lasted from December 2007 until June 2009. Home values may dip during a time of economic uncertainty, especially in areas where job loss is significant, and the number of foreclosures may increase during that time. But as long as you can continue making mortgage payments, you’ll be fine.
During a recession, however, you’ll be less likely to want to put your home on the market at a reduced price unless it’s absolutely necessary. So if you’re starting to feel the itch to move, consider selling this year as opposed to next, because economic changes may make a home sale in 2021 less desirable.
Keep in mind, however, that you still have time in 2020 to make necessary updates to your home, prepare for a move and find the right new property. Rather than putting it out of your mind, start preparing now.
“In some markets, (sellers and buyers) have under 50 days to do everything,” Gilch says. If you starting planning months in advance, however, you may feel better prepared to ready your home for sale – and you won't feel pressured to make a snap decision.
It may be time to update your decor.
You may not be moving into a new house in 2020, but you can make your home feel new again by taking stock of each room and updating the design. You may want to make your living room more functional by finding a better furniture layout, brighten up a guest bedroom with new paint or go big with a full renovation of your kitchen for a more modern style. To make any design changes a success, however, you’ll want to know what styles will become more popular in 2020 and what fads are on their way out. Here are 10 interior design trends to consider in 2020.
Updated on Dec. 6, 2019: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.Zen dens break up floor plans.
Zen dens break up floor plans.
Open floor plans may be here to stay, but many homeowners are interested in creating a room that lets you separate yourself from the goings-on in the rest of the house. For some people, open floor plans are "too open,” says Tim Bakke, publishing director of online home and design plan company The Plan Collection, based in Scarsdale, New York. “If you have the TV on in the living room, everyone in the kitchen and the dining room is hearing it and seeing it.” Bakke says separate, closed-off living spaces called “zen dens,” are ideal for reading a book or having a more private conversation, and he thinks they’ll gain popularity in the coming year. “It’s not splitting up the house, but you have someplace where you can kind of get away from it,” Bakke says.Master suites expand.
Master suites expand.
As wellness gains emphasis, more homeowners are looking at spaces where they’ll most likely benefit. As a result, master bedrooms and bathrooms are getting more love. “Maybe a little bit of square footage is taken away from other parts of the house and put into the master suite,” Bakke says. Whether it’s to expand the bathroom and add a soaking tub or to make room for a sitting area in the bedroom, homeowners are considering their bedrooms as a space where they can spend more time beyond sleeping and getting ready for the day.Inside and outside continue to blend.
Inside and outside continue to blend.
Outdoor living has been gaining popularity over the last few years, and designers continue to see blurring the line between outdoor and indoor as a desire among homeowners. Gena Kirk, vice president of design for homebuilding company KB Home, based in Los Angeles, describes successful interpretations of the trend as “extending the great room into the backyard,” which not only makes entertaining easier, but also allows you to relax on comfortable seating on the patio when the weather is nice. For homes that experience colder seasons, a fire pit, outdoor fireplace or outdoor heaters allow for snuggling under a blanket while still enjoying the outdoor living space when the weather is chilly.Organic elements are here to stay.
Organic elements are here to stay.
Indoor plants have made a resurgence in recent years because they add life to a space. Meanwhile organic elements are expanding into furniture and decor as designers incorporate more natural wood tables, natural fiber rugs, coral, dried flowers and branches into decor. While these items are no longer living, they offer a connection to nature and the outdoors. Keep an eye out for sisal, jute or seagrass rugs, which can be found at major retailers like Home Depot, Ikea and Wayfair. While it’s easy to find faux coral tabletop decor, you need to read product descriptions carefully to find real coral for purchase.Wallpaper and texture provide depth.
Wallpaper and texture provide depth.
Rather than sticking to traditional eggshell wall finishes and basic cotton throw pillows, design experts are looking to patterns and textures to make rooms feel more dynamic and personal. Interior designers particularly encourage wallpaper in a half bathroom, where you can have a bit more fun without overwhelming the space. Wallpaper is making a comeback in other parts of the house as well. Barbara Kavovit, CEO and founder of Evergreen Construction in New York City, says wallpapering a room makes a great do-it-yourself project, requiring little skill – just the patience to do it right. You can also experiment with texture on walls, whether it means creating a faux stucco look with plaster and paint or incorporating upholstered panels or reclaimed wood.Velvet becomes a staple.
Velvet becomes a staple.
Velvet is becoming a preferred furniture fabric over microfiber or leather, since it offers a soft texture that looks luxurious in bright, bold colors. Expect to see more bedding accessories and throw pillows in velvet, which can provide additional texture in a bedroom or living room. This trend isn’t just for winter, either – if it's the right color and paired with other textures and materials, velvet works in a room year-round. Light pink or mustard velvet pairs well with just about any color.Blue is the color to incorporate.
Blue is the color to incorporate.
Both Pantone and paint company Sherwin Williams have announced that their colors of the year for 2020 are dark shades of blue: "classic blue" for Pantone and "naval" for Sherwin Williams. Dark and navy blues can serve as neutral colors for a room and pair well with lighter colors, bold jewel tones and even metallics for an art deco look. Lighter blues and greens are also popping up more in furniture, decor and paint palettes, which can make for a soft look or a bold statement in different combinations. As a wall color, navy creates a darker setting, leaving room to play around with lighter neutrals and pops of color in the decor. It can also be used as an accent in a lighter room.Say goodbye to gray.
Say goodbye to gray.
If you’ve been watching HGTV renovation shows or have toured homes at just about any point over the last decade, you know that gray has been the go-to neutral for walls, furniture and even home exteriors. But over the last couple of years, other neutrals have been threatening gray’s domination of the color market. “Those very cool grays – they’re dying. They’ve been dying. Everything’s starting to warm up,” Kirk says. Interior designers are seeing a return to shades of brown and beige, as well as navy, to offer a warmer palette. Don’t be afraid of looking outdated if you use gray in your color scheme for a room, but if your entire house is painted in the same gray shade, it’s time to add some variation.Computer rooms are out; charging stations are in.
Computer rooms are out; charging stations are in.
If you’re still dedicating part of your kitchen to house the family desktop computer or it has its own designated room, rethink that space. With everyone using laptops, tablets and smart phones to browse the internet, do homework and pay bills, there’s no need to take up space with a bulky desktop that no one’s using. A family computer room can be converted into the "zen den" your house has been missing, a guest bedroom or another space your family would use more. But there’s still something you can do for the family electronics: “Phone, tablets – all those things need to be charged,” Bakke says. He recommends creating a charging station with enough outlets to plug in multiple devices, located in a common drop zone where people enter and exit the house like the mud room.Minimalism moves over.
Minimalism moves over.
People still like clean lines, but these days designers are seeing more homeowners embrace eclectic decor styles, with modern vases and bowls as well as imperfect antiques that add variety. While a simplistic, uncluttered look is still popular, designers and homeowners now look to "incorporate focal points with an older piece," says Jim DiGiacomo, board member for Olde Good Things, an architectural salvage store based in New York City. Flea markets and antique stores are prime shopping targets. The opportunity to find one-of-a-kind pieces has expanded online as well, as eBay, Etsy and more specialized stores like Olde Good Things offer extensive online inventories, allowing you to find vintage prints, vases and even architectural gems like mantels, doors and ceiling tiles to incorporate in a room remodel or new home design.Interior design trends to keep an eye out for in 2020 include:
Interior design trends to keep an eye out for in 2020 include:
- Zen dens break up open floor plans.
- Master suites expand.
- Inside and outside continue to blend.
- Organic elements are here to stay.
- Wallpaper and texture provide depth.
- Velvet becomes a staple.
- Blue is the color to incorporate.
- Say goodbye to gray.
- Computer rooms are out; charging stations are in.
- Minimalism moves over.
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Updated on Jan. 8, 2020: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.
She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.
Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.