The housing market typically experiences a seasonal slowdown during the winter months, but this year seems to be different, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance survey.
In fact, all three homebuyer groups — current, first-time and investors — recorded their most significant traffic gains of 2012 in December.
"According to our survey respondents, this is not a normal winter. Time on market for non-distressed properties is much lower, and we already see our homebuyer traffic indexes building toward a strong spring/summer buying season," said Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys.
Not only did the 2012 winter numbers look strong, but the report showed signs of good things to come. Time on market, number of offers, closed transactions and sales prices were all improved at the end of 2012.
The "time on market" index, where a decline is actually a good thing, dropped from 42.4 in November to 40 in December.
The "number of offers" index rose from 57.3 to 61.5 between November and December. The survey considers an index value of 50 as reflective of no change or a flat market environment.
The "closed transactions" index from the survey rose from 51.2 to 54.4 during the same year-end period.
The "sales price" index not only jumped from 58.1 to 61.1 from November to December, but also peaked at its highest level ever recorded.
A majority of those surveyed stated that this winter was much busier than a typical winter, due largely to low inventories of homes for sale and strong homebuyer traffic.