Existing-Home Sales Spring Ahead in March

Bolstered by big gains in the Northeast and Midwest, existing-home sales bounced back in March and remained slightly up from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Total existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, jumped 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.07 million in February. Sales rose in all four major regions last month and are up modestly (1.5 percent) from March 2015.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home sales had a nice rebound in March following February’s uncharacteristically large decline. “Closings came back in force last month as a greater number of buyers – mostly in the Northeast and Midwest – overcame depressed inventory levels and steady price growth to close on a home,” he said. “Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures.”
The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in March was $222,700, up 5.7 percent from March 2015 ($210,700). March’s price increase marks the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory3 at the end of March increased 5.9 percent to 1.98 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 1.5 percent lower than a year ago (2.01 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.4 months in February.
The share of first-time buyers was 30 percent in March, unchanged both from February and a year ago. First-time buyers in all of 2015 also represented an average of 30 percent.

Advertisements

April Sales Up!

Warmer weather across the country is drawing more people to look at open houses and available homes this month, says Jonathan Smoke, realtor. com®’s chief economist. Here are four current housing market factors that will likely translate into greater sales this April:

1. Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates have moved lower this month and are hovering near the lowest averages in the past three years. Lower mortgage rates help boost home buyers’ purchasing power as well as buyers’ ability to qualify for a mortgage.

2. More urgency: Many buyers were frustrated last year with their inability to buy. This spring, they’re heading to the housing market more determined. Mortgage applications for home purchases are up 20 percent compared to last year.

3. More searching: Realtor.com® reports a record number of people searching and looking at its website for homes. Nevertheless, there are 2 percent fewer homes for sale that they’ll find when compared to last year.

4. Faster sales: The time that listings spend on the market has dropped dramatically. Nationwide, the median days on the market dropped 14 days in the first two weeks of April compared to the first two weeks of March. Some of the places seeing the fastest sales are in Colorado, including Aurora, Arvada, Littleton, and areas of Denver, where the median age of a listing is less than 7 days. Gladstone, Ore., and areas of Seattle are also seeing the median age of listings at less than 7 days.

Other areas seeing median listing ages of less than two weeks are: Cambridge, Mass.; Pacifica, Berkeley, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale, Calif.; Centreville, Burke, and Henrico, Va.; Berkley, Mich.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Boise, Idaho; Clifton, N.J.; Salt Lake City and Sandy, Utah; Fort Worth, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; and Buffalo, N.Y. Source: realtor.com®

WHAT IS FHA?

The Federal Housing Administration, known as “FHA”, provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States. FHA insures mortgages on single family and multifamily homes including manufactured homes and hospitals. It is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world, insuring over 34 million properties since its inception in 1934.
FHA mortgage insurance provides lenders with protection against losses as the result of homeowners defaulting on their mortgage loans. The lenders bear less risk because FHA will pay a claim to the lender in the event of a homeowner’s default.
During the 1940s, FHA programs helped finance military housing and homes for returning veterans and their families after the war.
In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the FHA helped to spark the production of millions of units of privately-owned apartments for elderly, handicapped and lower income Americans.
Today, FHA, by insuring local banks and other lenders risk of loss, allows homebuyers to minimize their ‘down payment’ to 3% of the purchase price making homeownership accessible to a larger percentage of the population.
FHA is the only government agency that operates entirely from its self-generated income at no cost to the taxpayers. The