Spring looks promising for housing 

March 24, 2013

By JIM WOODARD NEWS & RECORD

All indicators are pointing to a strong recovery for housing this spring.  Sales and prices are up, mortgage rates are low, and consumer confidence levels are high.

 National home prices continued to post strong annual gains in February, while quarterly increases stabilized, according to a report from Clear Capital.

Home prices in February were up 6.1 percent year-over-year, the strongest yearly growth since August 2010 when the homebuyer tax credit influenced demand, according to Clear Capital's Home Data Index.

Are mortgage interest rates rising?  Yes, Freddie Mac released a report on March 14 showing results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.  It noted that the average fixed mortgage rates had risen during the week on stronger signs of jobs growth and consumer spending.

The 30-year fixed averaged 3.63 percent, its highest reading since the week of Aug. 23, 2012.  The 30-year fixed hit its average all-time record low of 3.31 percent the week of Nov.21, 2012.

Is this a good time to sell a home?  A recent survey by Fannie Mae indicates this is a particularly good time to sell.  In Fannie Mae's housing survey, consumers maintained their optimism toward home prices, while the share of consumers who said now is a good time to sell reached a record high.

However, consumers in the survey were less optimistic about the economy and their own financial situation.  Nearly half, or 48 percent, of respondents in the survey said they expect home prices to rise in the next 12 months.

At the same time, 25 percent also believe now is a good time to sell, the highest level since the survey's June 2010 inception.

Are asking prices of homes rising?  Yes, asking home prices have risen 7.0 percent year-over-year since bottoming out in February of last year, the real estate site Trulia revealed in its February Price Monitor Report.

"At the same time, inventory fell 23 percent year-over-year in February, according to data provided from Department of Numbers.  Inventory fell year-over-year in all of the 50-plus markets tracked, dropping more than 50 percent in several California metros," it was reported.

 

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