U. S. Home Prices Up 6.2 Percent

According to the latest report by the National Association of Realtors, the national median existing home price in the second quarter was $255,600, up 6.2 percent from the second quarter of 2016 ($240,700) as the new peak quarterly median sales price. The median price during the first quarter increased 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016.
Single-family home prices last quarter increased in 87 percent of measured markets, with 154 out of 178 metropolitan statistical areas, showing sales price gains in the second quarter compared with the second quarter of 2016.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home prices in most areas continued their fast ascent in the second quarter because supply remained at pitiful levels. “The 2.2 million net new jobs created over the past year generated significant interest in purchasing a home in what was an extremely competitive spring buying season,” he said. “Listings typically flew off the market in under a month. With new supply not even coming close to keeping pace, price appreciation remained swift in most markets.”
At the end of the second quarter, there were 1.96 million existing homes available for sale, which was 7.1 percent below the same time last year. The average supply during the second quarter was 4.2 months — down from 4.6 months in the second quarter of last year.
“Mortgage rates have subsided in recent months, which has somewhat helped take away the sting of rising prices.” added Yun.

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Reasons to work with a REALTOR

REALTORS® are professional members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics. This is the REALTOR® difference for home buyers:
1. Ethical treatment. Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a REALTOR®’s client, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. The first obligation is to you, the client.
2. An expert guide. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.
3. Objective information REALTORS can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They also have objective information about each property.
4. Expanded search power. A REALTOR can help you find opportunities not listed on home search sites and can help you avoid out-of-date listings that might be showing up as available online but are no longer on the market.
5. Negotiation knowledge. A REALTOR will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows enough time for you to complete inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase.
6. Up-to-date experience. Most people buy only a few homes in their lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change.
7. Your rock during emotional moments. . For most people, property represents the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you.

Lenders Relax Standards

As home prices continue to rise, some mortgage lenders are loosening their underwriting standards so borrowers can purchase property sooner. “The reality has sunk in that there are buyers out there who will be able to buy homes and make the mortgage payments,” said William E. Brown, president of the National Association of REALTORS®. told mortgage industry news website OriginatorTimes.com. The industry is “trying to give them more options to buy a house,” he added.
Mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are rolling out new programs to spur homeownership, and some lenders are moving to relax standards to avoid losing business as home prices and mortgage rates rise, says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. “If your business is going to drop 20 percent, you need to come up with ways to offset that,” he says.
Underwriting standards still remain stricter than in the past. Though borrowers have more loan options, such as 3 percent down mortgages, they typically must meet credit requirements to qualify.

FLOOD INSURANCE BILL MOVES FORWARD

The National Association of Realtors® today said that significant improvements to the “21st Century Flood Reform Act,” key legislation aimed at improving the National Flood Insurance Program, have cleared the way for endorsement of the bill. Among the changes, including a policy that protects homeowners from significant rate increases when a flood map changes.
The most recent draft will also limit proposed increases to fees and rate hikes that policyholders faced under previous iterations of the legislation.
NAR President William E. Brown, thanked the committee for working with Realtors® to strengthen the bill and announced NAR’s support for changes to Act which will help give certainty to homeowners who have brought their property to code and have done their part to protect it against flood risk. It’s a fair and reasonable approach that recognizes the need for accessible, affordable flood insurance.