There’s been a sizable uptick in the number of homes for sale, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. What does this mean for homebuyers?

There are a few key signs that spring is right around the corner. One is when a certain groundhog in Pennsylvania looks for his shadow (and doesn’t see it). The other is when an influx of homes for sale start to hit the market.

According to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report – which surveyed 50 U.S. metro areas – the number of newly listed homes in January was 66.3% higher than in December and 21.5% higher than in January a year ago.

The December-to-January jump was significantly larger than that of years past. What could this mean, exactly? Well, it could bode well for a bustling spring market.

“It was encouraging to see the surge in new listings, as January stats can be a sign of things to come,” said Nick Bailey, RE/MAX President and CEO. “Potential buyers and sellers considering a move this year should prepare by securing a qualified agent who can help them understand the local market and help them through the process. If new listings continue to emerge and interest rates drop a bit over time, 2024 could be a year of great opportunity for buyers and sellers.”

The recent report also shows that homes across the country are starting to sell a bit quicker. In January, houses took an average of 45 days to sell – one day less than December and three days less than January 2023. While market activity is picking up, home prices are holding firm. January sales averaged 98% of the listing price, the same as in December (though up from 97% one year ago).

What does this mean for homebuyers?
An uptick of newly listed properties hitting the market means prospective homebuyers should have more options to choose from in their house search. The more, the better – especially for those with specific objectives, like upsizing for parents, downsizing for empty nesters, or even accommodating the needs of furry family members.

Plenty of today’s homebuyers – especially from the millennial generation – are factoring in their dog’s demands when it comes to buying a home. Some people, according to multiple RE/MAX agents, are even buying a new home for their dog. The pet-forward features they’re searching for range anywhere from a grassy yard to a digital doggy door to a luxury “barkitecture”-inspired pet spa.

Homebuyers (and pets) hoping to make a move this spring should connect with a trusted real estate professional sooner rather than later to get the ball rolling. Curious how far your dollar will take you in this market? Follow a few simple steps to help decipher how much house you can afford to buy.

As affordability and interest rates remain top-of-mind, some prospective buyers are exploring creative ways to approach homeownership in 2024. A recent survey by RE/MAX found that 80% of consumers who plan to buy a house in the next year are modifying their plans to do so. Possible adjustments include taking on a fixer-upper, downsizing to a tiny home, purchasing with friends or family, and more.

No matter what your real estate journey looks like this year, however, finding an agent (as Bailey noted above) is, as always, a critical part of the process.

Article originally appeared on RE/MAX.com.