According to recent surveys, home prices are on the upswing. One survey of 53 metropolitan areas across the country shows home prices inched up 3.2% from last month and are up 5.9% since April of 2011. A separate report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed house prices in March were up 2.7 percent from a year ago, the largest gain since November 2006.
Sales of homes are also up 4.1% from this time last year. 39 of 53 metropolitan areas surveyed saw higher sales. Overall inventory of homes for sale and the days they are staying on the market are also trending lower, which certainly helps support increased sale prices.
A similar report just released by the National Association of Realtors confirms existing-home sales rose in April and home prices continue to rise. NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, even went so far as to say the housing market recovery is underway.
The NAR report also outlines some interesting trends in the upswing. For instance, first-time home buyers made up 35% of purchasers in April. That’s 2% more than in March.
Existing condominium sales increased 6% from March numbers and are up 10.4% since April of 2011. The median existing condo price also rose over 8% since last year.
Single family home sales in April was up 4% from March’s sales. That’s 9.9% higher than a year ago. The median price of existing single family homes has also risen since April 2011. That’s up 10.4%- a nice healthy increase.
Regionally, existing home sale sin the South rose 3.5%. That’s 6.5% higher than the amount of homes sold in the South a year ago. The median price is also up. The median price of Southern homes also rose 8% percent since this time last year.
A diminishing supply of foreclosed properties means inventory of homes for sale is down in some areas. NAR reports distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – were only 28% of April’s sales. That’s down from just March’s numbers, where distressed homes accounted for 29% of home sales.
There have been quite a few news stories lately that suggest another round of foreclosures could impact the positive numbers we’ve seen reported for the spring 2012 selling season. Yet, as one report indicates, at current levels of sales and inventory, an up-tick in foreclosures could actually be absorbed if they enter the market over the course of a reasonable period. This is encouraging news.
If you’re in the market for a new home, consider looking into financing as early as possible. As NAR president, Moe Veissi, recommends, “With the tight lending environment, it’s a good idea to consult with a REALTOR about mortgages and program options in your area, and tips for boosting your credit score well in advance of making an offer on a home.”
If you are thinking about entering the market soon, a great resource for beginning your search is also to try a service called Listing Book. You can sign up for the free and find more information on area homes for sale at www.PetersenPartners.com.