Contract signings on home sales rose slightly in December, reaching their highest level since last March, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, moved 0.5 percent higher to a reading of 110.1 last month, 0.5 percent higher than a year ago.

"Another month of modest increases in contract activity is evidence that the housing market has a small trace of momentum at the start of 2018," says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. "Jobs are plentiful, wages are finally climbing, and the prospect of higher mortgage rates are perhaps encouraging more aspiring buyers to begin their search."

This year is looking to be very active in the real estate market. The new tax law is allowing many new home buyers to increase the amount they bring home, so they can save up more to purchase their home or even qualify for a more expensive home. Spring has always been the busiest time of the year in real estate. Some sellers are hoping to get their house sold either before the new school year begins or simply avoid moving in the snow. Therefore there are more inventory in the spring and more buyers in the market. Buyers come out of the woodwork during the spring, and with tax refund checks in the bank, spring buyers more often pay full or close to full price. In fact, sales peak in the spring, helping to explain why about 60 percent of those who move do so in the summer.

Spring is a great time to sell your house. The flowers are blooming and the yard and landscaping are at their best. It’s warm outside and stays daylight later giving buyers more opportunity to look. But you must remember it also is the time for an abundance of competition on the market. So start early and beat the crow.

Mark Brady is the president of the Portage County Association of Realtors.