Strong Spring sales for existing and new construction bolstered optimism for the 2016 housing market. Continued low interest rates and increased inventory combined to provide more opportunities for first-time and repeat home buyers.
According to the National Association of Realtors, total existing home sales for the US went up 5.1 percent. This boost in the housing market reflects completed transactions for single family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. After a decline in February that concerned market-watchers, sales rose in all four US markets – the Northeast, Midwest, South and West.
“With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now.” — Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist
“Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures.” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
According to the NAR report, the median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $222,700, up 5.7 percent from March 2015 ($210,700). This is the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year gains in the housing market. Total housing inventory increased 5.9 percent to 1.98 million existing homes available for sale (1.5 percent lower than a year ago).
The National Association of Home Builders (NHB) also reported confidence for new home construction. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) reported that although single-family starts were down 9.2 percent from February 2016, the industry posted an overall 22.6 percent increase of single-family starts from March 2015.
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As rents increase, Yun advises the housing market is poised for first-time buyers to aggressively seek out homes to buy: “With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now.”
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