~ Somewhere in the Midwest on January 6, a day that was colder in the Midwest than on the planet Mars (NASA), a chilly homeowner was searching online for another home.
 Schools were closed, online searches were up as homeowners with cabin fever dreamed of new places to live.
 With Spring coming our way March 20, what does that mean for home buyers and sellers?
 According to real estate site Trulia, the cold winter might mean more people looking to buy vacation homes in the sunny south. At least, more people dreamed of homes in sunny vacation spots. According to the real estate site, every time the temperature drops 10 degrees in the town a house hunter lives, there is a 4.4 percent increase in searches for homes in warm regions. Searches for vacation destinations rise 5.5 percent.
 But that doesn’t mean everyone was searching outside their metro area when temperatures dropped.
 In fact, 2.2 percent more people searched for homes online within their own metro area. That might be a better indication of the rise in possible home buyers. Maybe they were thinking of a cozy fireplace or a home with better insulation.  Some probably think that if they have to be trapped in a polar vortex they want to be trapped somewhere they like. Or maybe they just had cabin fever and wished they were out looking.
 Cabin fever, in fact, bodes well for the Spring market, which is expected to be stronger anyway, according to analyst David Payne, writing in Kiplinger.com.  Payne says that there will be an overall 4 percent increase in existing-home sales in 2014.  Payne looks for an increase in new home sales of 16 percent.
 Some people are motivated by cold weather. According to psychiatrist Keith Ablow, while extreme weather tends to snow us all in, some people take pride in defeating each storm and rising to the occasion.  Those people are probably the ones who will be out looking for new digs this Spring.