November 2015

Existing Home Sales Report

Existing–home sales came back strongly in September following a decline in August and have now risen year–over–year for 12 months in a row, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). All four major regions saw sales gains in September.

Total sales of existing homes (transactions for single–family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co–ops) grew 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million in September from a slightly downwardly revised 5.30 million in August, and are now 8.8 percent above a year ago (5.10 million).

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, believes a slight moderation in home prices in some markets and mortgage rates staying below 4 percent gave more households the confidence to close on a home last month. According to Yun, "September home sales bounced back solidly after slowing in August and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million)." NAR's economist added, "While current price growth around 6 percent is still roughly double the pace of wages, affordability has slightly improved since the spring and is helping to keep demand at a strong and sustained pace."

Existing Home Sales By Region

Key takeaways from NAR's data

  • September's median price for existing homes (no new construction) was $221,900, or 6.1 percent higher than a year ago ($209,100). This represents 43 months of year–over–year growth.
  • Total housing inventory by the end of September dropped 2.6 percent to 2.21 million existing homes, or 3.1 percent less than the inventory a year ago (2.28 million). Unsold inventory holds a 4.8–month supply at the current sales pace.
  • The share of first–time buyers dropped to 29 percent of overall sales after a rise to their highest share of the year in August (32 percent).
  • Freddie Mac data shows the average commitment rate for a 30–year, conventional, fixed–rate mortgage stayed below 4 percent for the second consecutive month. A year ago, the average commitment rate was 4.16 percent.
  • Properties remained on the market 49 days in September, a bump from 47 days in August and 56 days a year ago. Short sales sold in 135 days in September; foreclosures sold in 57 days while non–distressed homes required 48 days.
  • Distressed sales — short sales and foreclosures  — stayed at 7 percent in September for a third month in a row; a year ago, they were at 10 percent. Six percent of September sales were foreclosures and 1 percent (lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008) were short sales.

The Best Mortgage

Shopping around for a home loan or mortgage will help you to get the best financing deal. A mortgage - whether it's a home purchase, a refinancing, or a home equity loan - is a product, just like a car, so the price and terms may be negotiable. You'll want to compare all the costs involved in obtaining a mortgage. Shopping, comparing, and negotiating may save you thousands of dollars.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a free brochure to help guide you through this process. Download a free copy today, and please contact us for a list of preferred mortgage professionals in our area.

Get Your Home Ready to Sell

When preparing your home for sale, a number of simple cosmetic changes often provide the biggest return on investment. Here are three tips to upgrade your house without breaking the bank:

  • Bring in the light. The right light creates the right mood. Adding lights to dark rooms can make your home feel warm and inviting. Bring outdoor light inside by opening curtains and installing economical sun tubes.
  • Create Space. Many of today's buyers are looking for open rooms. Consider removing unwanted walls to make your home feel more spacious. Buyers will often pay a premium to get a bit of extra room.
  • Replace Flooring. Get rid of that old carpet in the den and replace it with today's newer hardwoods and laminates. You don't have to spend a lot to make a big impression!

These simple tips can help you sell your home and take advantage of our today's market. Please contact us if you have any questions about selling your home. We are here to help!