After a long weekend I am sure that many are depressed to head back to work. How about some good news about the real estate market to cheer you up?
The National Association of REALTORS just announced that existing home sales in April 2013 reached 4.97 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.
Despite being lower than Wall Street’s expectations, this is still higher than the March 2013 numbers. The April 2013 home sales numbers are 0.6% higher than the March 2013 numbers and are 9.7% higher than the April 2012 numbers.
Of course, NAR is talking about the entire US. If we look at the numbers for Upstate South Carolina from the April Market Report, we see that closed sales are up 26.3% compared to the April 2012 level.
Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Are Helping Home Sales
The low mortgage rates available now are helping homes sales. How much? This is the highest level for existing home sales since way back in November 2009.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS, said:
The robust housing market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory. Without these frictions, existing home sales would be well above the five million unit pace.
We keep hearing about how low inventory levels are holding back home sales and frustrating some home buyers. NAR said that the inventory of homes for sale is increasing. At the end of April 2013, the total inventory of existing homes had increased by 11.9%. This represents a 5.20 month supply of available homes in April as compared to a 4.7 month supply of homes in March 2013. Listed inventory is 13.6% below April 2012, when there was a 6.60 month supply of homes available.
Again, NAR is talking about the entire US. In Upstate SC, inventory is down 3.6% from the April 2012 level. Please understand that is for ALL areas/types of homes/price ranges in the WUAR MLS. For example, in our area, if we just look at homes under $100,000, we see that inventory is down 6.4% compared to back in April 2013. That means there are fewer available homes in that price range. Or if we look at just 3 bedroom homes, we see that the inventory is down 5.8% in our area.
So the stories about low inventory are true in some ways for our area!
Average Home Sales Prices Up 14 Months In A Row
The US average price for all housing types was $192,800. This is an increase of 11% compared to April 2012. This is the fourteenth consecutive month of rising average home prices! The last time this occurred was between April 2005 and May 2006.
In Upstate South Carolina, the average home price for April 2013 was up 12.1% compared to April 2012.
Homes sold through foreclosure or short sales decreased 3%. 18% of the homes sold in April 2013 were either a foreclosure or a short sale. Foreclosure sales averaged 16.0% below market value and short sales averaged 14.0% below market value.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, provided more good news for the housing market. They said that the average home price for homes mortgaged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased by 7.2% year-over-year. FHFA said that home prices are up 1.2% from the February 2013 level. FHFA also said that home prices in the first quarter 2013 had risen 6.7% from the same period in 2012.
New Home Sales Up Too!
It isn’t just existing home sales that are up according to the latest report from the Department of Commerce. They said that New Home Sales are up by 2.3% from March 2013 (on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis).
In some areas, people are buying new homes because of the low inventory of existing homes. It’s also possible that some people are buying now because they are thinking that home prices will continue to rise. And they probably also realize that the record low mortgage rates mean they will be able to afford more home for their money.
The Take Away:
Buyers really need to think about how the demand for homes can mean that home prices will rise even more. And as we have seen over the past several weeks, mortgage rates can go up. The good news is that home buyers in the Anderson market can still take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates.
I hope you will understand this is just the basics. There is no doubt that things are getting better. And that inventory is tight in segments of the real estate market in Upstate South Carolina. Still, for some people, it is a great time to buy a home.