There’s no question that home buying and selling activity takes a noticeable decline in the winter months, especially in regions with cold-weather climates. That pent-up demand typically gets unleashed in the spring, much to the delight of home sellers and real estate professionals everywhere. The results of the recent National Association of REALTORS®’ Diffusion Index found a 7.2 point increase in buyer foot traffic in February, bringing the index to 26.2. The index uses 50 as the marker between what is considered strong and weak in terms of buyer foot traffic, so there is still plenty of growth to be had, which is expected once spring and summer come around.
“This improvement suggests that the year-over-year decline in existing home sales should stabilize in the months ahead, though at a level sharply lower than the spring of 2013,” Ken Fears, NAR’s manager of regional economics and housing finance policy, writes on the Economists’ Outlook blog.
Although February is still technically winter, it’s incredibly promising to see buyer foot traffic already trending upward before spring hits. This only reinforces the fact that demand is simmering to a boil and buyers are anxious and no longer willing to wait on the sidelines while the weather makes up its mind.
So how important is foot traffic in the grand scheme of relevant real estate data? The NAR reports that foot traffic has a very strong connection to home sales, as well as future contracts. And while much of preliminary home shopping is done online, no deal is ever finalized until the buyer tours the home themselves. This adds even more credence to the foot traffic statistic as no potential buyer is going to be touring homes unless they are very serious about finalizing a deal, if not at that particular home than another one in the near future.