New MRIS Survey Reveals Continued Housing Market Growth

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MRIS Real Estate Professionals Share Predictions for the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Housing Market

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MRIS Real Estate Professionals Share Predictions for the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Housing Market in Spring Real Estate Outlook Survey

Real estate professionals are on the forefront of the housing market and have seen a positive impact from the steady gains in home sales combined with more first-time buyers entering the market.

MRIS, the industry-leading Mid-Atlantic Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that facilitates nearly $140 million a day in real estate transactions, today released the results of its 2016 Spring Real Estate Outlook Survey. The survey looked at the Mid-Atlantic state of the market, first-time homebuyers, financing, and home design trends.

“While 2015 was a great year for real estate, many of our MRIS real estate professionals are predicting that 2016 will be even better,” said MRIS Vice President of Product Innovation and Marketing, Andrew Strauch. “Real estate professionals are on the forefront of the housing market and have seen a positive impact from the steady gains in home sales combined with more first-time buyers entering the market.”

Approximately 57 percent of MRIS real estate professionals predict that this year’s spring housing market will be busier than last year. Among the factors that real estate professionals said would positively contribute to the housing market is the improved job market (46 percent), an increase in first-time homebuyers entering the market (46 percent), rising rent costs (36 percent), more qualified buyers (35 percent) and steady home price gains (31 percent).

The survey drew responses from nearly 750 real estate professionals within MRIS’s geographic footprint, including Washington D.C., Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, focusing on their predictions for the spring market.

First-Time Homebuyers
In line with national trends, 88 percent of MRIS real estate professional predict that there will be as many or more first-time homebuyers entering the market this spring compared to last year. According to the 2016 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, a growing share of homebuyers are millennials. Nationally, millennials have been the largest group of buyers over the past three years.

Nearly 82 percent of MRIS real estate professionals said that rising rent costs would encourage millennials to purchase a home. However, a majority of respondents (64 percent) said that student loans are still a major barrier limiting buyer’s potential to purchase a home.

With more millennials expected to enter the market, MRIS real estate professionals identified the following home features as most important to first-time buyers:

  • 81 percent said an updated kitchen and bath
  • 59 percent said an open floor plan
  • 43 percent said low maintenance features
  • 36 percent said walkable communities
  • 20 percent said energy efficiency
  • 19 percent said the strength of cell phone service and Wi-Fi

“Millennial buyers have different wants and needs for a home than baby boomers had. Millennials make up the largest segment of our country’s population and will be a driving force in the real estate market this year,” said Strauch. “In order to command top price, it pays to present the home in a way that appeals to the needs of most millennials.”

Financing the Purchase
“The Federal Reserve announced an increase in interest rates this past December and while it has scaled back the number of rates hikes estimated for this year, it is still expected to release about two incremental increases in 2016. These increases could lead to higher mortgage rates, prompting more buyers to act quickly this spring,” said Strauch.

  • A majority of real estate professionals (53 percent) believe that the Federal Reserve rate increase will encourage homebuyers to move more quickly to purchase homes this year.
  • Just 20 percent of real estate professionals said that there would be no impact at all on the housing market due to the Federal Reserve rate increase.
  • Respondents were split about the impact of the new mortgage rules on home prices. Approximately 51 percent said that these rules would have a long-term impact on prices, while nearly 49 percent said that they would not have a long-term impact.

Home Design Trends Impacting Sales Price
To attract qualified buyers, home sellers may need to update their home. Respondents said that the following outdated trends are most likely to lower a seller’s home value:

  • 66 percent said an outdated floor plan
  • 64 percent said laminate countertops
  • 59 percent said popcorn ceilings
  • 40 percent said carpeting

For more information on the MRIS 2016 Real Estate Outlook Survey, please contact Gina Zuk Gerber at gina(at)abelcommunications(dot)com.

Survey Methods Statement:
The survey, conducted online by MRIS, polled Mid-Atlantic real estate professionals about the 2016 Real Estate Outlook. The sample source was only MRIS customers, who are real estate professionals within the MRIS geographic footprint. Nearly 750 MRIS customers participated in the survey.

MRIS is a leading provider of real estate information technology and one of the nation’s leading multiple listing services (MLS), facilitating nearly $51 billion in system wide sales in 2015. The company supports over 45,000 real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. MRIS provides its customers with a portfolio of best-in-class desktop, mobile and cloud-based technologies to improve the real estate transaction process for both real estate professionals and homebuyers and sellers. For more information, please visit or to search for thousands of available homes in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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Gina Zuk
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