FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A number of factors can influence home sales in any city, but one Fresno realtor says that something unusual is in play and impacting the housing market in the Central Valley – the weather.

The National Association of REALTORS released a report on Tuesday stating, on a national level, existing-home sales ended a yearlong decline in February, posting gains for the first time in 12 months. Existing-home sales increased 14.5% month over month—which marked the largest monthly gain since July 2020.

On Wednesday spoke to Chelsea Soares with Iron Key Real Estate in Fresno about home sales in the Central Valley. She says, locally, sales have increased this month over last, and the number of homes pending sales has increased as well. Soares attributes some of that, in part, to the volatile interest rates and the savviness of today’s buyer who she says knows how to take advantage of dips in interest rate offerings.

She elaborated on Wednesday’s announcement by the Federal Reserve that it was increasing the interest rate by 0.25%. She says the rate a buyer is being offered at this current time can be viewed subjectively.

“Everything’s relative, so if you ask your parents or your grandparents, they may say that a 7.0% rate is low compared to the first home they purchased. If you ask someone who bought four years ago, they may say that is high. So it’s all relative.”

Currently, Soares says there are 1,400 homes on the market listed for sale in Fresno County. She also points out there is still a supply-and-demand issue in the Fresno area, which means there are fewer homes available for buyers.

Interestingly enough, the recent spring storms have impacted the Central Valley’s housing availability, according to Soares.

“Weather has had an impact on home sales and we are anticipating an increased Spring. Part of it, we’re thinking, is our normal cyclical spring market is what we are expecting. Yet there’s definitely been sellers who’ve delayed putting their home on the market due to the weather. They want it [their home] to look its best, and even the most well-maintained home isn’t exempt from the massive amount of rain and its impact on the landscape.”

She goes on to say homes are always going to show their best in the spring when everything is blooming, temperatures are nice, and people not going to feel the effects of a western-facing home.

She says a tight supply of housing can work in the seller’s favor, yet notes in the month of February that 38% of homes sold locally had seller concessions, meaning the seller gave up part of their proceeds to the buyer. She says there’s a lot more negotiating going on between buyers and sellers now than there was this time last year.

The National Association of REALTORS states that the average home price in Fresno County, as of the third quarter of 2022, is $386,374.

In regards to today’s home prices, Soares says sellers are typically still making a healthy profit, but there’s a slight change in what they are pocketing after the close of the sale.

“We’ve kind of flatlined. So, sellers have experienced abnormally large increases in appreciation, for the last couple of years, due to the circumstances involving COVID. That number has pretty much topped out, so, it’s not a bad thing for the market, it’s not that they are taking a huge dip, it’s a very minimal flatline, and we’re hoping that that will have a positive impact on the market as a whole.”

She also offers a tip to those looking to list their home in the upcoming months.

“It really is imperative at this point to make sure you take the time to make sure you are prepping your home appropriately. You can’t just throw your home on the market and expect it to sell for top dollar if it doesn’t look like it commands top dollar. You really have to take the time to prepare it properly if you want to get the most out of it.”