Mortgage Rates Down, Sales Up

“evidence is accumulating that the optimists may finally be right.

The housing market is starting to recover. Prices are rising. Sales are increasing. Home builders are clearing lots and raising frames.” ~The New York Times, June 27th, 2012,

Lowest rates in more than 40 years

Last week, mortgage rates hit new all-time lows —  the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.66 percent, while the average for a 15-year sank to 2.94 percent — both the lowest recorded rates since Freddie Mac’s records beginning in 1971.

Last year at this time, the rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged about 4.51 percent, while the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage was about 3.22 percent. (via The Washington Post)

Existing home are sales up

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that existing-home sales for May 2012 — completed transactions including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — are up nearly 10 percent year-over-year. Sales are down slightly — 1.5 percent — from April 2012, something NAR attributes to less inventory.

Listed inventory is down more than 20 percent from this time last year (dropping to 2.49 million homes or a 6.6 month supply), continuing a downward trend from the all-time high of 4.04 million homes listed in July 2007. (via Economic Populist)

Year-over-year prices see smallest decline since 2010

The S&P/Case Shiller index (based on home values in 20 U.S. cities) for April fell 1.9 percent from April of last year — the smallest drop since November 2010.  This continues the shrinking year-over-year drop in home prices — which saw a 3.8 percent drop in January, a 3.5 percent drop in February and a 2.6 percent drop in March.

Even more encouraging, home values in 10 cities in the index were on the rise — with Phoenix at the top of the list with a year-over-year increase of 8.6 percent. (via The Wall Street Journal)

Market continues with stronger signs of recovery than decline

For the fourth year in a row, the housing market looks like it’s climbing out of the depths. Although each of the three years previously have seen the market recovery end with a downward movement, each year real recovery looks more promising. The ratio of housing prices to income is close to where it was prior to the housing bubble. With falling prices combining with an improving economy, the number of potential buyers keeps growing. (via The New York Times)

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