Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Existing-Home Sales Improve

Amidst turmoil in the stock market and continued crisis in both our own and European debts, the latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that existing-home sales improved slightly in October.

Though this rise was marginal, any upward movement is reason for some holiday cheer in the real estate market.

The NAR reports that existing-home sales were up 1.4 percent in October and are a promising 13.5 percent above October 2010.

Three of four regions saw growth last month, with the West leading the way at a 4.4 percent rise.
The Midwest and South rose 2.8 and 2.1, respectively. The Northeast was the only region to see a decline in October, falling 5.1 percent.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market has been fairly steady but at a lower than desired level. "Home sales have been stuck in a narrow range despite several improving factors that generally lead to higher home sales such as job creation, rising rents and high affordability conditions. Many people who are attempting to buy homes are thwarted in the process," he said.
The numbers could be higher for October had a large number of contract failures not held back a recovery. These contract failures are due in part to appraised values ending up less than negotiated prices, meaning the loan falls through.

Many would-be buyers are also sidelined by tight credit standards.

NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami, said consumers can increase their odds of obtaining a mortgage by being aware of how credit scores are determined. "If you want to get a mortgage, don’t buy a car or take on new installment debt or credit cards," he said.

"Pay all your bills on time, maintain old credit lines and don’t use more than 30 percent of your credit limit," he said.

Home sales could be on the rise, additionally, due to buyers taking advantage of affordability.
According to the NAR, the national median home price for existing-homes is currently $162,500. This is down another 4.7 percent from October 2010. Distressed properties are accounting for less of the market, which means prices are falling in response to other economic conditions.

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