Spring is traditionally the busiest season in real estate for both buyers and sellers, and this year is truly a buyer's market. In 2010 several factors affecting the current housing market trend show the real estate market forecast to be much busier than usual over the next several months, so discerning sellers should take notice. The unofficial beginning of the spring home buying season starts after the Super Bowl, which will be very early this year on February 7, 2010. This is when, new buyers flood the market in early spring, granting new vitality to the market. In response, many fresh properties enter the market along with lots of properties that were taken of the market at the end off last year. This always results in a buying and selling frenzy that is fueled by fresh money and increased competition in the marketplace.

This year in particular the housing market is predicted to be very active with a positive real estate market outlook and here's why. The 4th quarter of 2009 saw a huge increase in home sales nationwide, caused in part by the expiration of the Federal Housing Tax Credit for first-time homebuyers. This helped to clear the increasing inventory of unsold homes, many of which were foreclosures and short sales that had been helping to scuttle home prices.

Now that the Federal Housing Tax Credit has been extended into April and expanded to include current home buyers and those with higher incomes, there will be thousands of more Americans rushing to buy before it expires April 30, 2010. Also, just this week the Federal Reserve announced that it intended to keep key interest rates at historical lows, near zero percent. As the credit crunch starts so loosen a bit, these low rates will entice many more would be buyers to take advantage of this extreme buyer's market. Though interest rates remain low for now, one can assume that once they start to rise they will rise quickly and sharply to help alleviate inflationary trends in the market.

The housing market trend, however, will continue to be controlled by a few key factors, namely the unemployment figures and consumer confidence. These two key points are the "Wild Card Factors," according to Geoff Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois. His real estate market forecast indicates that increasing unemployment could torpedo a rising market and falling consumer confidence could also stagnate the market, despite all other factors. Thus, the housing market trend is only that, a trend, and offers no guarantees for the future.

Adds Hewings: "While we are more optimistic about 2010, we are clearly still suffering the effects of the recession and they are likely to continue well into 2010 and 2011." People who are losing their jobs or fear losing them will be hesitant or unable to purchase a new or more expensive home.

Hewings predicts a rise in home sales in early 2010 followed by a possible double-digit increase by mid year. This rise is home sales, however, will most likely die off in the 3rd and 4th quarters, as it does every year. Thus, the real estate market outlook is positive in the 1st and 2nd quarters, but slows in the last half of the year.

Bottom line - if you plan to buy or sell your home in 2010, earlier in the year will be much better than later. Sellers will see a slight increase in sales prices due to the influx of fresh buyers and the rush to beat the April 30, 2010 deadline for the tax credit. Buyers will be able to take advantage of historically low interest rates before the Fed raises them and can cash in on the Federal Housing Tax Credit, not to mention having a much greater selection of homes listed for sale.

This year, the current market trend might cause the real estate motto of "Location, location, location" to change over to "Timing, timing, timing."

Brendan Kottenstette is a real estate broker with DMD Chicago Realty (http://www.dmdchicagorealty.com ).

DMD specializes in discount broker services and doctor loans for medical residents and new doctors. Read more about their doctor mortgages program at: http://www.dmdchicagorealty.com/real-estate-for-doctors.html.

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By Brendan Kottenstette