RE/MAX co-founder and chairman Dave Liniger says he expects the national housing market's rebound in 2012 to not only continue into 2013, but he also thinks the year could be the best the industry has seen in a very long time.
And, as the market heals, it's not just one factor that is restoring the industry, but several that are playing a role.
""Although interest rates have been at historic lows, they have not been the driving force behind this recovery,"" Liniger said. ""There's no single factor driving this market; it's been a combination of low prices, low inventory, improving consumer confidence and a huge pent-up demand. That was true throughout 2012 and will continue to be true in 2013.""
Liniger, however, warned that the recovery will be ""slow and steady,"" adding ""it is not completely on solid ground just yet.""
Liniger noted concerns regarding government regulations, strict lending standards, and the overall economy.
""But if housing can stay on the road to recovery, it's possible that it can pull the rest of the economy along with it,"" he concluded.
Liniger also offered his top 10 predictions for the year in a video presentation According to the RE/MAX research team, Liniger's predictions for 2012 were 85 percent accurate.
*Liniger's Top 10 Real Estate Predictions for 2013*
1. With more pent up demand, more homebuyers and sellers are expected to enter the market.
2. Homes sales will rise by 6-7 percent, and prices will rise by 3-4 percent.
3. The inventory of homes for sale will hit a bottom. More homes will be on the market from homeowners whose equity has increased and from lenders who are foreclosing more efficiently.
4. Higher priced homes will begin to sell.
5. Distressed property numbers will bottom out. ""We will be dealing with a significant number of distressed properties for a few more years, but the numbers should start retreating to more traiditonal levels in 2013,"" Liniger said.
6. Shadow inventory will continue to fall. Liniger explained shadow inventory has already fallen 12 percent from 2011.
7. The number of short sale closings will rise to a peak.
8. Record low mortgage rates will rise slightly by year-end. Although they will remain near their historic lows, Liniger says rates may start to inch up towards the end of year.
9. Lending will remain tight was Liniger's one negative prediction. ""Due to increased government regulation and the soon to be established provisions of Dodd-Frank, lenders will be compelled to keep standards tight,"" he said.
10. Home affordability will remain the best in years, bringing more buyers into the market.