So you started thinking about selling your Scottsdale real estate, and you figure: Let's wait until the spring or early summer before listing. The yard will look its best and potential buyers will be out in force. And everybody knows that winter is dead time for Scottsdale real estate. Right?

Well, that's the widely held belief. But national statistical studies suggest it's not necessarily the case.

Buying or listing Scottsdale real estate during the winter can be a surprisingly advantageous time to do so

Advantages of Buying Scottsdale Real Estate During Winter

Winter — officially Dec. 21 through March 20 for the current season — can be a surprisingly advantageous time to list, shop, negotiate and buy Scottsdale real estate. Consider some findings by researchers at Redfin, the online realty brokerage.

Redfin studied home listing, sales price and time-on-market data from 2010 through this past October from around the country, updating a two-year analysis it completed last year. It concluded that if you want to sell for more than your asking price, listing in December, January, February and March gives you a better chance, on average, than if you list any time after June through November.

During the past three years, listing during these four months has produced higher percentages of above-asking price sales than any months other than April and May. In 2012, at the inception of the housing rebound, December listings produced the highest percentage of above-asking sales for the entire year: 17 percent.

Researchers are quick to note that the advantages of listing their Scottsdale real estate in winter compared with other seasons are not huge. But the fact that winter produces at least competitive or better results by some measures should encourage some potential sellers to get into the game sooner rather than later.

For potential buyers of Scottsdale real estate, the winter season may find some sellers more flexible about negotiations over prices and terms than they would during the middle of the spring.

In its two-year study completed last December, researchers found that sellers of Scottsdale real estate were better off listing their homes in the winter than during any other season.

Bottom line: Scottsdale real estate does not hibernate from December through March. More than 5 million homes typically are resold annually in the United States, and many of them are listed and sold during the winter months. In strong local housing markets such as Scottsdale , the likelihood of selling your home within 180 days is higher when you list during the winter months compared with any other season, according to Redfin's 2013 study.

With the forecast of higher mortgage rates on the horizon, there may never be a more affordable time to buy Scottsdale real estate than right now. Talk to us about rates, and where prices are for Scottsdale real estate. We're here to help you in any way that we can.

We have more articles about buying and selling Scottsdale real estate in the sections on Scottsdale Home Buying Tips and Scottsdale Home Selling Tips under our Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right.

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First-time Scottsdale homebuyers now account for only one-third of all home purchases, the lowest share since 1987.

That's according to an annual survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, which questioned a random sample of people who purchased homes between July 2013 and June 2014.

First time Scottsdale homebuyers seem to be vanishing according to the National Association of Realtors

Reasons First Time Scottsdale Homebuyers Are Vanishing

Of the many reasons first time Scottsdale homebuyers seem to be disappearing, rising rents and repaying student loan debt makes saving for a down payment more difficult, especially for young adults who've experienced limited job prospects and flat wage growth since entering the work force. Adding even more trouble for would-be first time Scottsdale homebuyers, those finally in a position to buy have had to overcome low inventory levels in their price range, competition from investors, tight credit conditions and high mortgage insurance premiums.

Wages should go up as the job market continues to improve, but first time Scottsdale homebuyers report that getting a mortgage is a lot harder than they expected.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement recently, "Less stringent credit standards and mortgage insurance premiums commensurate with current buyer risk profiles are needed to boost first-time buyer participation, especially with interest rates likely rising in upcoming years."

The median age of first time homebuyers nationwide was 31, and their median income was $68,300. Their typical purchase: a 1,570-square foot home costing $169,000, something that is increasingly more difficult to find in the Scottsdale real estate market.

The typical repeat buyer, by contrast, was 53, with an income of $95,000. Repeat buyers bought bigger and more expensive homes.

Home sellers, meanwhile, are getting older: 54 on average now vs. 46 back in 2009. The typical seller has been in his or her house for 10 years — a new high.

If the share of first time Scottsdale homebuyers continues to shrink, many homeowners who would like to move up to a more expensive house may find it harder to sell their current home.

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The burden of Scottsdale household costs fell for the third consecutive year, according to the U.S. Census’ 2013 American Community Survey. Nationwide last year, 39.6 million households spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing, which is a decrease from 40.9 million in 2012 and down from the peak of 42.7 million in 2010.

Scottsdale household costs are mostly dropping among home owners, while they continue to strain renters

Scottsdale household costs are mostly dropping among home owners, while they continue to strain renters, according to a recent analysis by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies of the data. In 2013, 26 percent of home owners were considered burdened by household expenses (i.e.: spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing), compared to half of all renters at 49 percent.

Why Scottsdale Household Costs Are Escalating For Renters

The number of renter households is on the rise, which partially explains why Scottsdale household costs for renters are escalating. But renters are also plagued by rising rents that are not matching incomes. Median renter costs were up about 5 percent in 2013 compared to 2001, even though median incomes were nearly 11 percent lower, according to the report.

This has led to more renters being severely burdened by Scottsdale household costs in 2013, paying more than 50 percent of their incomes toward housing costs. 11.2 million renters were in this category.

The number of home owners burdened with higher Scottsdale household costs is dropping. After surging during the housing bubble, inflation-adjusted owner costs have dropped about 2.5 percent below their 2001 level. Owner burdens are also down due to a significant reduction in the overall number of home owners in 2013 than 2012. This decline in the number of home owners for the third straight year suggests that many burdened owners dropped out of ownership, moving into the costly rental market.

Get more timely information about Scottsdale household costs and news affecting those costs in our section on Scottsdale Real Estate News to the right under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories.

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With Christmas now just a few days away, chances are you still have gifts to buy. But what are the best gifts for those people on your holiday list who say they have everything?

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According to the latest forecast from Freddie Mac's economists, Scottsdale mortgage rates are expected to hit 5 percent for a 30-year fixed rate loan in 2015.

Expect to see interest rates climb throughout 2015, with yields on the 10-year Treasury averaging about 2.9 percentage points, up from about 2.6 percentage points in 2014, and 30-year fixed Scottsdale mortgage rates mortgage gradually climbing, averaging 4.6 percent and rising to 5.0 percent by the end of next year.

Economists expect higher Scottsdale mortgage rates in 2015

Rising Scottsdale Mortgage Rates May Dampen Affordability

Meanwhile price increases are expected to slow from the 9.3 percent pace we saw in 2013, the 4.5 percent we saw this year, and 3.0 percent in 2015. Continued house price appreciation and rising Scottsdale mortgage rates will dampen homebuyer affordability.

Total housing starts in 2015 will increase by 20 percent and total home sales will increase by about 5 percent over that time period to the best sales pace in eight years.

Single-family originations will fall an additional 8 percent from 2014 to 2015 to $1.1 trillion annualized as increases in purchase-money lending are insufficient to offset a drop in refinance. Refinance is expected to make up just 23 percent of originations in 2015.

The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well poised to sustain about a 3 percent growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better. There are several reasons for the better economic performance. Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus, lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment, further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development, and more upbeat consumer and business confidence, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015.

With that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity. All of this according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

With the forecast of higher Scottsdale mortgage rates on the horizon, there may never be a more affordable time to buy a home than right now. Talk to us about rates, and where prices are for Scottsdale housing. We're here to help.

Don't forget, we also post daily at Twitter, and Facebook as well. We'd love for you to check us out there as well.