Nationally, existing-home sales eased in December but were well above a year ago, while limited inventory maintained the upward momentum in home prices, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Nationally, existing-home sales eased in December but were well above a year ago, while limited inventory maintained the upward momentum in home prices, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Total sales in 2012 were the highest in five years. The preliminary annual sales total for existing-home in 2012 was 4.65 million, up 9.2 percent from 4.26 million in 2011. It was the highest volume since 2007 when it reached 5.03 million and the strongest increase since 2004.
Maine home sales were robust this December compare to December of last year increasing 15.6% with Penobscot County’s increase exceeding 37%. Preliminary annual totals for the State show a 17.2% increase in home sales with Penobscot County increasing by 13.4% to 2,326 homes sold, the best sales level in four years.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said pent-up demand is sustaining the market. “Record low mortgage interest rates clearly are helping many home buyers, but tight inventory and restrictive mortgage underwriting standards are limiting sales,” he said. “The number of potential buyers who stayed on the sidelines accumulated during the recession, but they started entering the market early last year as their financial ability and confidence steadily grew, along with home prices. Likely job creation and household formation will continue to fuel that growth. Both sales and prices will again be higher in 2013.”
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was a record low 3.35 percent in December, the same in November; it was 3.96 percent in December 2011.
First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in December, unchanged from November; they were 31 percent in December 2011.