Real Estate Market

May 2016 News

Existing Home Sales Report

Based on data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), boosted by big gains in the Northeast and Midwest, existing-home sales made a comeback in March and are slightly up from a year ago.

Sales of existing homes in March (including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops), grew 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million from a downwardly revised 5.07 million in February. Sales increased in all of the nation's four major regions and are slightly higher (1.5 percent) than March 2015.

Existing Home Sales By
Region

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, indicated that home sales had a nice comeback in March on the heels of February's unusually large tapering. "Closings came back in force last month as a greater number of buyers – mostly in the Northeast and Midwest – overcame depressed inventory levels and steady price growth to close on a home," Yun said. He added that, "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."

Key Data Takeways

  • The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $222,700, up 5.7 percent over March 2015 ($210,700). This makes 49 straight months year-over-year increases.
  • Total housing inventory at the end of March grew 5.9 percent to 1.98 million existing homes available for sale, however this is 1.5 percent lower than a year ago (2.01 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace, a bump up from 4.4 months in February.
  • Distressed sales (short sales and foreclosures) – dropped to 8 percent in March, down from 10 percent both last month and a year ago. Seven percent of March sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Mixed News for First-Time Buyers

First-time buyers represented 30 percent of the market in March, the same as in March last year. First-time buyers across 2015 overall also represented an average of 30 percent.

Overall, there's mixed news. On the positive front, according to data from Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.69 percent in March. This was a very slight increase from 3.66 percent in February, but the rate has stayed below 4 percent for eight straight months. The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent. Of course, from a historical perspective across decades, rates are extremely low which benefits first-time buyers. There's no guarantee that things won't change, but for now, interest rates are really attractive. That's the good news.

On the other hand, according to National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President Tom Salomone, while there were slight improvements, mortgage credit is still challenging to obtain for many first-time buyers and middle-income households. Salmone said, "Reducing the Federal Housing Administration's annual mortgage insurance premium rate and repealing its life-of-loan policy requirement would certainly expand options for more of these buyers." NAR's President added that "these changes would save consumers money and further strengthen the FHA's program by enticing more creditworthy borrowers to seek out FHA-insured loans."

We'll continue to keep an eye on issues affecting first-time buyers here in the Newsletter. For detailed local information or a referral to proven lenders we trust, give us call today!

 

Steps to Enhance Curb Appeal

It's important for sellers to do what they can to get their home to stand out. Here are five quick tips to generate some excitement for your home in today's market.

  • Use Paint:  A new coat of paint can go a long way to make your home look up to date. Neutral colors work best because they appeal to the most people.
  • Mow the Lawn: Take the time to mow the lawn and clean the yard. Rake leaves and grass and put away any tools that may be lying around. Don't turn buyers off with a messy yard. If they like what they see on the outside, you'll improve your chances of getting them to look inside.
  • Plant Flowers: Seasonal or perennials can bring a splash of color to your home and brighten the view from the street. Flowers throughout the house will please the senses and make your house feel like a home.
  • Spruce Up Your Walkway: Dressing up your walkway with bricks or paving stones will lead people to your front door. Inexpensive solar lighting can further enhance your entry.
  • Window Treatments: Keep your home from looking plain or boring with some decorative shutters. Windows are very important to the overall appeal of your home. Add planter boxes underneath for an immediate improvement that doesn't cost a lot of money!

By following these tips, you will be able to capture the hearts and minds of today's buyers, as well as improve your chances for a quick sale at the best price possible.

When you are ready, contact me today for a personal market value analysis of your home. No hassles or obligation - just honest advice on how to get top dollar for your home!

Contact Information

Nathan Abbott Team
ResortQuest
9657 Hwy 98 West
Miramar Beach FL 32550
Office: 850-583-5678
Cell: 850.803.7653
Fax: 850.308.1194

Nathan Abbott Team at ResortQuest Real Estate

Proudly serving the real estate market on Florida’s North West Gulf Coast - Destin, Okaloosa Island, Destin Harbor, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Panama City Beach,
Niceville, Scenic Highway 98, Scenic Highway 30A, Sandestin, Tops'l, Okaloosa County, Walton County, Bay County