Report: US Home Sales Increased Sharply in May

US Home Sales InformationIt’s certainly a headline we like to see around here: “US Home Purchase Contracts Have Seen a Significant Increase.”

And in fact, that’s exactly what The Associated Press recently reported.

This is great news, especially given that – so far this year – the pace of buying is slower than in 2013. A lot of this can be attributed to the harsh winter that kept many home buyers inside.

But as the recent report indicates, spring and summer sales activity may ultimately compensate for those sluggish winter months.

It’s Not Just Sales Contracts Enjoying Favorable Conditions

Here’s a full report of what the National Association of Realtors recently revealed:

  • Its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index increased 6.1 percent to 103.9 in May.
  • That marks the sharpest month-over-month gain since April 2010.
  • The index is still, however, 5.2 percent below the level it was at a year ago.
  • Experts believe that lower mortgage rates and an increased home inventory drove much of May’s gains.
  • All four U.S. regions (the Northeast, Midwest, South and West) saw increases in signed purchase contracts

Meanwhile, in a different report released by the Association, completed sales of existing homes increased 4.9 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million homes.

Still, it’s worth noting that sales are down 5 percent year over year.

The association predicts that sales of existing homes will decrease 2.8 percent this year to 4.95 million. That’s compared to 5.1 million in 2013.

In terms of new homes, sales increased 18.6 percent in May to an annual rate of 504,000. That’s the highest level since May 2008.

Why Are Things Showing Improvement Now?

Of course, it helps that we’re still in the spring and summer home buying market.

But another key factor is the removal of two previous obstacles: Rising mortgage rates and a low supply of available homes for sale.

Average rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.17 percent recently. Before, it had been at 4.20 percent and higher. Still, rates are roughly 0.25 percent higher than they were at this time last year.

Meanwhile, the supply of homes has increased. By 2.2 percent in May to 2.28 million. That’s 6 percent higher than a year ago, helping to fuel increased activity on the market!

How Can You Expect This to Affect You?

If you’re a home seller, the recent flurry of activity should give you confidence that you too will be able to sell your property and in a reasonable amount of time as well.  But one things that will decide that is working with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of the market.

And if you’re a home buyer purchasing a property on the local housing market, the recent activity suggests that you’re in good company – with more and more people entering the market to invest in property!

Always Here To Give You The National Real Estate 411!

What other valuable information would you like to learn about the real estate market in order to make your transaction easier? We will be happy to supply you with all of the insight you need!

Contact us today for valuable real estate advice today!

And make sure to check back to our website soon for more pertinent information that affects you!

US Home Sales See Second Consecutive Month of Increases in May

US Home SalesOne month of positive real estate sales is encouraging, but sometimes it can be a fluke.

That’s why we’re always so thrilled when positive numbers one month carry over into the next month.

And that’s just what we saw with the recent release of May sales numbers.

According to a recent USA Today article, existing home sales increased for the second straight month in May, increasing to their strongest rate since the fall.

More Details Emerge About the Current State of the US Housing Market

Here’s what the most recent data from the National Association of Realtors revealed: Sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million, which marks a 4.9 percent increase from April’s rate of 4.66 million.

This was the highest monthly percentage gain since August 2011!

And this wasn’t the only indicator that the market is improving. In fact, metrics across the board hinted at growth on the national housing market:

  • Sales prices also showed marked increases. Specifically, the median existing home price was $213,400 in May, up 5.1 percent from a year earlier.
  • Meanwhile, sales of homes priced at $1 million and above increased everywhere but the Midwest
  • Total housing inventory at the end of May increased 2.2 percent to 2.28 million existing homes available for sale. That’s 6 percent higher than a year ago.
  • At May’s sales rate, there’s a 5.6-month supply of homes for sale, which is close to the 6-month inventory that’s considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

Of course, some obstacles still remain on the market.

For instance, sales are still weaker than they were a year ago, when the annualized sales rate was 5.15 million.
And through May, sales were down 8.2 percent from the first five months of last year.

What’s more, the market continues to be difficult for those home buyers with modest financial resources, particularly first-time buyers. Consequently, these home buyers’ share of sales decreased to 27 percent in May, down 2 percent from April 2013.

And although single-family home sales rose 5.7 percent from April, they’re also down 5.7 percent from a year ago.

Still, real estate experts across the country remain optimistic.

They agree that at least three factors will continue to encourage growth and improvement on the national housing market:

  • More homes are being listed on the market
  • Home prices are rising more slowly than in 2013
  • Mortgage rates have declined recently

All of these factors will drive more and more home buyers to the market, further encouraging a healthy and stable real estate market.

Count on Us for Reliable National Real Estate Data!

We hope you ‘ve learned something useful about recent  national real estate trends and how they may affect you locally.

Check back here on July 15 as we continue to provide you with useful and up-to-date housing market information that is relevant to you!

Waiting to Sell? Here Are 5 Reasons Not To!

RS1938_sell-for-moreRight now you’re asking yourself the same questions that many home sellers are asking. Is the market “hot” (with ready home buyers)? What is the quality of those buyers? Will they be able to qualify for financing? Are banks and their interest rates “buyer-friendly” right now? No one blames you for having these concerns.

Let’s lay out five reasons why you should put those worries to bed and sell, sell, sell.

 

 

1. Less Paperwork, Faster Closings

Unlike in some previous years, banks are beginning to demand more and more paperwork before giving the green light on a mortgage. This means that a spike in new mortgage requests will inevitably cause the timeline from application to closing to stretch even further. Selling now puts you ahead of that “dead man’s curve”. The longer you wait to sell, the longer your buyer will have to wait for an approval.

2. The Weather and The Market Are Both Hot

The severe winter put a serious halt to home sales as buyers preferred to wait for those frigid extremes to pass before taking purchasing a home serious again. This has created a bottleneck effect as those same buyers are now rushing back to market. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) noted that the sum of buyers dropped precipitously in December, but, has been steadily increasing since January. Both the temps and the market are heating up!

3. Not Enough Homes to Go Around

Simply put, in many markets buyers are outnumbering sellers which has driven up home prices over the past 18 months. That is terrific because after having suffered through negative equity for the past few years, sellers are finally seeing a return to positive equity. The problem? It’s only temporary as these homeowners are highly anxious to get their homes in front of buyers now.

To add to that, there’s also an increase in the new construction of single-family homes. This is important because a recent Harris Poll shows 41% of buyers prefer a new home versus the 21% who were for homes that already existed (38% showed no preference). In other words, most buyers prefer new homes and more new homes are to compete with your property.

The competition is at an optimal level right now, but, waiting to sell will certainly change all of that. It’s time you beat your neighbors and the builders to the punch.

Now’s The Time To Trade Up

Many homeowners have simply outgrown their current homes. As the years progress, families get larger and the property seemingly gets smaller. If this is you or if you simply want to reward yourself with more square footage, now’s the time to act. A more expensive home now will get even more expensive as time progresses.

Here are facts:

  • Prices are projected to appreciate by more than 19% by 2018.
  • Interest rates are predicted to be over 5% by this time next year.

These are a recipe for you paying thousands of dollars more than you have to. This means higher down payments, higher mortgages, and more interest paid on those mortgages. Acting now keeps that money in your possession.

5. Onward and Upward

Only you know your reason for selling. Now’s the time to ask yourself all the hard questions. Every moment you ponder on if you should or should not sell is another moment of stress. It’s another moment away from enjoying your family. There have been times in the recent past where waiting to sell may have been prudent, but, the iron is now hot.

It’s the perfect storm for home sellers and waiting another minute may cost you money and peace of mind. Now’s the time to put your home on the market and at Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we’re here to put it in front of the right buyers. Connect with us today and let’s get started.

If I Can’t Sell My Home, Should I Rent It Out?

Home and Dollar on compared - clipping path includedIt is well known that in most areas of the country renting is more expensive than buying a home. Homes remain affordable, while rent has risen sharply. This has caused some Raleigh area home sellers to consider renting their home out rather than selling it. It seems like a win; the homeowner gets rental income while they wait for home values to rise more.

In some instances, this is a sensible choice because residential real estate may be a good investment in the current climate. On the other hand, homeowners with no interest in becoming knowledgeable about this investment may be surprised by the logistics of property management.

Prior to renting your home, consider the following questions. They will help you determine whether it is a good decision.

BEFORE You Rent Your Home, Ask Yourself These 10 Questions:

  1. Your tenant says they cannot pay the rent this month because they need to spend the money on something else (holiday season, back-to-school, etc). How do you respond?
  2. Due to the downturn in the economy, a number of homeowners are unable to pay their mortgage each month. What do you think is the percentage of tenants that are not able to afford their rent?
  3. Do you have an eviction attorney lined up in the event an eviction is necessary?
  4. Have you contacted your homeowner’s insurance company to discuss any possible premium increases due to the greater liability of the home not being occupied by the owner?
  5. Will renters be allowed to have pets? What kind? How big?
  6. How will the rent be collected? Will the tenant mail it or bring it in person?
  7. How will inevitable repairs be handled?
  8. Will you be ready with a list of technicians when this repair is needed?
  9. How frequently will you visit the property for a physical inspection?
  10. Will you let your current neighbors know that the house is going to be rented?

Make An Informed Decision

While renting out your home has the potential to be a great decision, it is not without pitfalls. Be certain that you are renting out the property because you want to invest in residential real estate, and not because you want to make a little extra money by waiting to sell.

If you decide being a landlord isn’t for you, we can help you sell your Triangle area home for top dollar. Contact us, Linda Craft & Team, at 919-235-0007 to find out how we help home sellers every day.

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 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.

Almost All U.S. Cities Can Be Optimistic About Real Estate Market in 2014

Local Economy UpdateThe economic recovery is not just confined to one region of the United States, according to a recent news article.

Evidently, a recent report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors noted that almost every city in the country is expected to see economic growth in the New Year!

This is great news for everyone because it shows that our economy continues to strengthen after the recent recession.

Why You Can Expect Great Things in 2014

According to the recent report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, most cities in the US are expected to see economic growth and job gains in 2014.

Here are the cities that are expected to lead the pack:

  • Naples, Florida
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas

What’s more, those cities who were severely affected by drops in manufacturing or by the housing market crash are also expected to see gains in the new year:

  • Youngstown, Ohio is expected to see economic growth of 1.6 percent
  • Buffalo, New York is expected to see economic gains of 1.5 percent
  • Shreveport, Louisiana is expected to grow by 1.6 percent, after the community saw a 5.2 percent decrease last year.

Experts say that part of the key to economic growth has been the stabilization of housing. Job growth has also helped to encourage spending.

They noted that college towns (such as Lawrence, Kansas or Austin, Texas) are expected to make strong gains while the larger cities (like New York and Chicago) are expected to see more modest growth.

Here are some more highlights of the recent report:

  • 340 of 363 metro areas will see economic growth by at least 1 percent.
  • Last year, only 183 metro areas saw such growth.
  • In addition, experts predict that 69 of those 363 metro areas will see growth exceeding 3 percent.
  • And only seven of the 363 metro areas will probably not see economic growth, according to the report.
  • While that’s unfortunate, it’s still exceptionally better than last year when 97 metro areas didn’t see growth.

A New Year, A New Economy

With a New Year comes new opportunity. We’re thrilled to know that the local economy in almost all major US cities is expected to grow in the coming year.

Check back here soon to learn about more about national trends that may affect your efforts as a home buyer or seller.

More Gains Expected in 2014 for US Housing Market

US Real EstateExperts emphasized recently what they’ve been saying for weeks: The US housing market will show even better gains in 2014.

Evidently, experts believe that it will be a good year for housing, despite the fact that sales are likely to level off slightly.

Those interested in buying and selling real estate in the US in 2014 will surely find the following information helpful as they navigate the market!

Good News for US Homes for Sale

Here’s the outlook for the US housing market, according to a recent article I was reading:

  • Interest rates on 30-year mortgages are expected to rise above 5 percent by midyear. Currently, the national average is about 4.5 percent.
  • Home prices are expected to increase 5 to 6 percent in 2014, which is about half of what it was in 2013.
  • New home construction is expected to show immense growth in 2014, which is great for the homebuilding industry as well as those buyers looking for more options.
  • The number of foreclosed homes has dropped significantly in the last several months, suggesting that the foreclosure crisis is nearing an end.

In a related article, CoreLogic reported a similarly optimistic outlook for 2014, especially given the most recent data available.

Citing November 2013 data, CoreLogic reported that:

  • Home prices increased 0.1 percent from October to November.
  • Home prices rose11.8 percent between November 2012 and November 2013,
  • 2013 represented the best year for housing since the financial crisis.
  • When all was said and done, home prices increased about 11.5 percent in 2013, which was the biggest gain since 2005.
  • And sales of existing homes reached 5.1 million in 2013, the National Association of Realtors said.  That’s an increase of 10 percent from the previous year.
  • That figure is also the highest it’s been since 2006.
  • CoreLogic said that, after talking with several economists, they expect sales and prices to continue rising this year, albeit at a slower pace.

Those markets that are expected to be the “hottest” in 2014 include:

  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Austin, Texas
  • San Jose, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • San Diego, California
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Buying and Selling US Real Estate

Hopefully it will be a great year for the national housing market. One thing is for sure: It will be an improvement from the year before!

Check back here soon for more pertinent information on the current state of the national housing market!