Report: U.S. Home Sales Increase for the First time in 2014

US home salesReal estate experts all across the country were thrilled to hear the latest numbers on the national housing market recently.

That’s because sales of existing U.S. homes showed a slight increase between March and April, reversing a 12-month trend in which home purchases had been dropping.

This wasn’t the only good news that the National Association of Realtors had to share, either.

Experts Encouraged By Recent Sales Data for National Housing Market

Here are some of the highlights of the recent report from the National Association of Realtors:

  • Home sales increased 1.3 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million.
  • The purchase of homes over the last 12 months had dropped 6.8 percent before April’s numbers were released.
  • The majority of gains were concentrated in the condominium market, which saw 7.3 percent growth.
  • Meanwhile, sales of single-family homes were up 0.5 percent during the month of April.
  • Still, home buying is significantly below its 2013 rate, which is when 5.1 million existing homes were purchased. And that’s still far below the 5.5 million rate that usually indicates a healthy market.
  • Median home prices increased 5.2 percent to $201,700 in April, which was the slowest increase since March 2012.
  • Home buying increased in the West and the South, although they mostly decreased in the Midwest and remained flat in the Northeast.
  • Home sales continued to decrease for homes priced below $250,000, although they continued to increase for those homes priced above $750,000.
  • First time home buyers represented 29 percent of all sales, which is far below the historical average of 40 percent.
  • Average rates for fixed, 30-year mortgages were around 4.2 percent recently, compared to 3.51 percent a year ago.

Experts say that sales may have been higher had it not been for a few confounding factors, such as snowstorms and brutal cold weather in the Midwest and Northeast during the first couple of months of 2014.

Other factors include higher home prices and rising interest rates.

Still, experts remain optimistic. For instance, the April report indicated that more home sellers are listing their properties on the market. In fact, the market has a 5.9 month supply of homes right now, which is up from 5.2 a year ago.

Keeping You Informed on National Developments

We love getting the opportunity to share some positive news about the national housing market with you and we hope you’re as encouraged by the recent data as we are.

Check back here soon for more updates on the current state of the national housing market and how it may impact your efforts as a buyer or seller.

US Home Prices Rose 11 Percent from Last Year, Report Shows

House sold signFrankly, it’s hard not to feel encouraged and optimistic about the real estate market these days.

Everywhere you look, positive real estate trends are popping up, further emphasizing that the worst days of the economic recession are in the rear view mirror now.

And here’s another recent nugget of good news: Home prices all across the country increased 11.1 percent in March 2014 when compared to the same time last year. And that’s including distressed sales.

More Relevant Data for US Home Sellers

According to the latest published data, the 11 percent home price increase in March represents 25 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in national home prices.

That’s incredible. That means that the housing market has been in the process of recovering for more than two years.

Here’s what else you should know about recent activity on the real estate market:

  • Between February and March, national home prices (including distressed sales) increased 1.4 percent.
  • When you exclude distressed sales, national home prices increased 9.5 percent from March 2013 to March 2014.
  • And month-to-month (from February to March), home prices increased 0.9 percent when you excluded distressed sales.
  • Experts say that when they included distressed sales, home prices were still 16 percent below peak levels. When you exclude distressed sales, prices were down 11.6 percent from the peak.

Experts say that there continues to be an imbalance of home buyers and sellers. Specifically, there are more interested home buyers than there are available homes.

This will continue to drive up home prices, they say.

Those States with Best, Worst Real Estate Trends

Experts also identified those states that saw the greatest home price increases when they included distressed sales:

  • California: Up 17.2 percent from March 2013
  • Nevada: Up 15.5 percent during that same period

Meanwhile, when it came to home price changes from February to March, 42 states and the District of Columbia showed increases. In that instance, Mississippi saw the largest month-over-month gains with 3.2 percent, followed by Alaska with a 2.3 percent month-over-month home price increase.

Experts also reported that Colorado, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming all climbed to new peaks in home prices. And Louisiana is approaching peak index levels also.

On the other hand, the state that remained farthest away from its peak values was Nevada, which remained at 39.9 percent below its 2006 peak despite recent gains. Florida followed at 36.3 percent below peak values.

Providing You With All the Real Estate Updates You Need

Check back here soon for further updates on the current state of the national housing market, which will help you determine how recent activity may affect you as a home seller.

We are happy to provide this useful data to help make navigating the market as easy as possible for you and your family!

Optimism About US Real Estate At Highest Level in 7 Years, Polls Show

Home buyer optimismThe numbers don’t lie: Americans are growing increasingly confident about the overall health of the national real estate market, according to a recent report.

Evidently, a recent Gallup poll showed that 56 percent of Americans expect average home prices in their area to increase, which is up 33 percent from just two years ago.

And it’s markedly increased from the low point of 21 percent in January 2011.

How The Recent Poll Was Conducted

Gallup conducted interviews between April 3 and 6 with a random sample of 1,026 adults, ages 18 and older.

These respondents lived in all fifty states as well as the District of Columbia.

These telephone interviews were conducted on cell phones and landlines and were conducted in English and Spanish.

What Do The Numbers Show About American Perceptions of the Market?

The latest poll numbers from Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance poll indicate that Americans are feeling increasingly confident about the market.

Here are some of the highlights of the poll results:

  • Between 2008 and 2011, Americans were more likely to expect local home values to decrease rather than increase.
  • Then, in April 2012, optimism about home values started to outweigh pessimism 33 percent to 23 percent.
  • Now, more than five times as many citizens believe home values will increase compared to decrease (56 percent to 10 percent).
  • People living out west are most likely to think home values will increase, with 72 percent of respondents.
  • Comparatively, about 44 percent of Americans living in the East expect home prices to increase.
  • These figures are compared to 54 percent of Southerners and 53 percent of Midwestern residents believing that home prices will increase.
  • The poll also showed that 64 percent of Americans are homeowners, with 74 of those people saying that their home is now worth more than when they bought it.
  • Still, these numbers aren’t as high as they were during the real estate peak in 2006 and 2007, when 90 percent of home owners said their home value exceeded purchase price.
  • 74 percent of Americans say it’s a good time to purchase a home, compared with 24 percent who say it’s a bad time.
  • The poll also showed that homeowners are more likely than renters to say it’s a good time to buy a house, with 81 percent of home owners and 60 percent of renters saying that.

Experts are encouraged by the recent data because it suggests that fewer home owners are underwater and more people are interested in entering the market and investing in property. This has long-term benefits to the overall health of the market.

Your Epicenter for National Real Estate News

We believe that providing up-to-date information to buyers and sellers is paramount to ensuring them a successful outcome on the real estate market.

Check back here in a couple of weeks for more relevant updates on the current state of the national housing market and to learn what kind of effects that activity is likely to have on buyers and sellers.

Report: US Housing Market Needs More Available Homes for Sale

US homes for saleThe national housing market is dealing with an issue of supply and demand right now and it’s impacting both buyers and sellers.

Specifically, the national housing market has too few people selling their homes compared with the number of people who want to buy homes, according to a recent report from Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller.

This is consequently driving home prices up, which in some cases is making available homes for sale unaffordable to buyers.

It’s certainly a unique situation and one that both home buyers and home sellers are going to need to learn how to navigate in the coming months.

Recent National Housing Market Activity Explained

Here’s what we know based on the recent Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city index:

  • Last year saw a 13.4 percent jump in the average price of a home sold.
  • Average prices nationally are expected to increase by single digits this year.
  • The gains are expected to be the strongest in those cities with strong job growth, including Seattle and Austin.
  • Meanwhile, lenders are beginning to ease barriers for those with less-than-ideal credit, meaning that these home buyers could find it easier to qualify for a mortgage and buy a home.
  • Currently there are about five months worth of homes on the market, compared with 5.9 months in 2012 and 8.3 months in 2011.
  • Part of the explanation of low housing inventory is the fact that about 19 percent of home owners remain underwater on their mortgages, which may deter some sellers from listing because their sales price may be less than what they owe.
  • And an additional 37 percent are “effectively underwater,” which means that their sale would not be enough to cover the cost of listing their home as well as putting a down payment on a new home.
  • But luckily, warmer weather, job growth and a more robust economy are expected to help encourage more home owners to list their properties this spring.

Experts also believe that the rise in home prices will help the problem correct itself. After all, as sales prices continue to rise, it will lure more home owners to list their properties.

This in turn could lead to more listings, which might ease the bidding wars among buyers and help lower sales prices to make them more affordable.

And That’s Paramount to First-Time Home Buyers

After all, this segment of the market really fuels market growth and promotes overall market health.

But right now, these first-time home buyers are buying fewer homes because of lack of affordability. For instance, they purchased 1.5 million homes in 2013, which is about 500,000 fewer than they would have typically, on average.

Still, that situation appears to be improving as well, albeit slowly. For instance, about 738,000 people ages 25 to 34-year-old found jobs in the past year, meaning they will have more disposable income and financial power to buy their own home

Add to that the fact that mortgage companies have eased their lending standards slightly to reach a larger audience and you have the right conditions for a greater housing market recovery.

Keeping An Eye on the National Housing Market for You!

We hope you found the above information helpful as a home buyer or home seller. We definitely believe that one of the surefire ways to have a successful outcome on the local housing market is to stay informed about what’s going on at the national level.

Check back again here soon for further updates. For now, we hope you have a great day!

Expect to See an Exceptionally Busy Spring Home Buying Season in 2014

Spring home buyingIf you’re currently trying to sell your home on the local housing market, great news: it’s about to get very, very busy for you.

That’s because national real estate experts are projecting that this spring will see even more home buying activity than is already expected for this time of year.

Why? Because of pent-up home buyer demand from the unusually cold winter we had.  Home buyers who might have navigated the market in late 2013 and early 2014 ended up holding off because of the bad winter weather.  Can you blame them?  House hunting in frigid temperatures while trudging around in the snow and bad weather is no fun at all.

So now that it’s warming up outside, these home buyers – along with those who would have normally entered the market in spring – are flooding the real estate market.

More Trends to Expect This Spring on the National Housing Market

According to a recent Bloomberg article, the spring home buying market (which usually runs from March to June) was delayed because of the unusually bad winter we’ve had across the country.

This late start meant that home sales declined in February to the lowest level since mid-2012. And the number of contracts signed reached the lowest level since 2011.

Meanwhile, applications for mortgages to buy homes dropped to the lowest since 1995 during the month of February.

While this may all indicate a slowdown, experts are saying that a lot of this activity was related to the unseasonably bad winter. Consequently, they expect home buying to surge over the next few months.

Here are the predictions provided by real estate market experts:

  • Sales of existing homes will increase to 5.14 million in 2014, compared with 5.07 million last year.
  • Mortgage lending will total $661 billion, compared with $652 billion last year.
  • The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will continue to rise from last year’s figure, when it was 3.57 percent.
  • First time home buyers will continue to increase in the market. For instance, in January, they made up 26 percent of the market. And in February, that figure rose to 28 percent.
  • The inventory of available homes will decrease. As of recently, the inventory was at 5.2 months.
  • Some markets are leaner than others. For instance, in Boston and Boulder, the number of homes for sale in February was down about 30 percent from the year before.

Keeping You Updated With the Real Estate 411

Happy spring home buying season to all the sellers out there! It’s definitely a great time to capitalize on the home buying energy and get a great price for your property.

And make sure to check back here again in a couple of weeks. You’ll be provided with even more news that will aid you as you navigate the market.

Report: US Home Prices Rose In January After December Decline

National home prices rose in JanuaryCorelogic just released some exciting news from the national housing market: Home prices are back on the rise!

The real estate data provider reported that home prices increased 0.9 percent in January after falling 0.1 percent in December.

And this is indicative of a larger trend, Corelogic reported. After all, over the last 12 months, prices have actually risen a total of 12 percent, which is the biggest year-over-year gain in over eight years!

Home sellers are sure to be encouraged by this recent development because it means that they have a better chance of getting the price they want for their property.

Housing Market Gaining Strength, According to Recent Data

Here’s an overview of recent activity on the national housing market:

  • Although home prices increased, total home sales actually dropped in January. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales dropped to their lowest level in 18 months.
  • However, the total number of available homes for sale remained low, which is why experts believe prices increased, at least in part.
  • The average rate on a 30-year mortgage showed a 1 percent year-over-year increase, which means that home buying costs are a little higher.
  • Meanwhile, builders started working on 16 percent fewer homes in January when compared to December. That marks the second straight month for decline.
  • Despite recent increases, national home prices are still 17 percent lower than when they were at the peak of the housing market bubble in April 2006.
  • In three states (Louisiana, Nebraska and Texas), prices have set highs. Meanwhile, in 19 additional states, prices are within 10 percent of their peaks.
  • Those states with the largest year-over-year price gains in January were: Nevada (up 22.2 percent), California (up 20.3 percent), Oregon (up 14.3 percent), Michigan (up 13.7 percent) and Georgia (up 13.4 percent).
  • Mississippi was the only state to show declines in home prices.

Homes With Negative Equity are Decreasing

Also recently, Core Logic reported that a total of 4 million U.S. homes returned to positive equity in 2013.

This means that the total number of mortgaged residential properties in the country is now at 42.7 million!

Meanwhile, roughly 6.5 million homes (or about 13.3 percent of all mortgaged homes in the country), still had negative equity by the end of 2013.

The decrease in homes with negative equity is another piece of good news for home sellers because it means that home prices throughout the community will be on the rise!  And that is sure to affect the price they can get for their own property.

Your One-Stop Shop for National Real Estate News

Check back to our website on April 1 for more pertinent national real estate news that affects you.

After all, one of the keys to ensuring a successful outcome on the local housing market is to enter it as an informed and prepared buyer or seller.