Existing-home sales rose in July to their highest sales pace of the year, according to a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Existing-home sales, which include recently purchased single family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops rose 2.4 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted 5.15 million annual units.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun credits economic health for the improved market. “The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market,” he said. “More people are buying homes compared to earlier in the year and this trend should continue with interest rates remaining low and apartment rents on the rise.”
Nationally, total housing inventory increased3.5 percent during July to 2.37 million units. The median time for homes to sell was 48 days in July, up from 44 days in June. Forty percent of July home sales were on the market for less than a month.
Mortgage Affordability Update
Freddie Mac reports the national average commitment rate for a conventional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 4.13 percent in July, down for the third consecutive month. Recent mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest levels since June 2013 when mortgage rates were available at 4.07 percent.
Steve Brown, NAR President, explains that improved credit scoring methods by Fair Isaac Corp (FICO) will make home ownership more affordable. “NAR supports efforts to broaden access to credit for qualified homebuyers, especially those who have been shut out of the housing market or forced to pay higher interest rates because of flawed credit scores,” he said. “A solid credit score is necessary to keep borrowing costs down.”
Increased mortgage rates may soon be upon us, according to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Although interest rates have fallen in recent months, median family incomes are still lagging behind price gains, and mortgage rates will inevitably rise with the upcoming changes in monetary policy,” he said.
This is an excellent time for home buyers to take advantage of low interest rates. Contact us for more information on today’s opportunities.