December 2014

Existing Home Sales Report

Existing-home sales climbed in October for a consecutive straight month and now stand above year-over-year levels for the first time in a year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Total existing-home sales, which count transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million in October. Sales are now at the highest annual pace since September 2013 (also 5.26 million).

Existing Home Sales By Region

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, indicated that 2014's housing market has been a story of two distinct halves. “Sales activity in October reached its highest annual pace of the year as buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen since last summer, improving levels of inventory and stabilizing price growth,” Yun said. The economist also commented that, “the job market has shown continued strength in the past six months. This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases."

Total housing inventory at the end of October dropped 2.6 percent to 2.22 million existing homes available for purchase. This would be a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace – the lowest since March (also 5.1 months). Unsold inventory is currently 5.2 percent higher than one year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available.

Ready for Winter?

Winter is one of our favorite times of the year! It's often easy to overlook your home's needs with so much going on. Here is a simple checklist of items that can save you money through the winter:

  • Check for leaks and drafts around the house. Replace weather stripping and re-caulk around doors and windows. Drafty doors and windows will cool off the house and cost you money in heating bills.
  • Inspect your attic's insulation. Heat rises so adding good insulation can keep the heat from escaping.
  • Check your heating system. Sometimes something as easy as replacing your filter or having simple maintenance done can save on heating costs.
  • Consider changing from standard light bulbs to energy saving bulbs. Winter uses a lot of your electricity so even saving a little here and there will help.

Whether you live in a warm or cold climate, take this opportunity to inspect your home systems. You'll be money ahead in the long run!

Save Thousands in Interest

Many people ask about bi-weekly payment plans designed to reduce the interest paid out over the course of your loan. These programs help the borrower budget an extra payment a year, and over time this can knock years off the repayment schedule.

You might be surprised to learn that you can do this yourself without any special programs, simply by submitting an extra principle payment as you are able. By submitting an extra payment, you get the advantages of an early payout, without the extra contractual obligation. Now is a great time to assess your financing options. Contact us today for our list of preferred local lenders!