Real Estate Market

May 2015

Existing Home Sales Report

According to the National Association of Realtors®, sales of existing homes rose in March to the highest annual level in 18 months, and the inventory of unsold properties also displayed gains. The Midwest led nationally but all major regions experienced notable sales growth in March and sit above their year-over-year sales levels. Total existing-home sales data (which include transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) grew 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March. This compares to 4.89 million in February, the highest annual pace since September 2013 (also 5.19 million). For six months in a row as of March, sales have outpaced their year-over- year levels and now sit 10.4 percent above one year ago. The sales increase seen in March was the largest monthly increase since December 2010 (6.2 percent).

Existing Home Sales By Region

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, this spring's housing market appears to have started encouragingly. Yun commented that "After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March," adding that "the combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years."

Optimism for First Time Buyers

In March 2015, first-time homebuyers comprised around 30 percent of existing home sales, almost the same as in recent months and last year at the same time (29 percent in February 2015; 30 percent in March 2014). This data was supplied by the March 2015 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.

First-time buyers benefited from recent steps to make credit more obtainable and mortgages more affordable (e.g., lower FHA mortgage insurance, 3 percent down payment GSE-backed loans, and easier standards and clarity regarding lender buyback of loans they originate).

First time buyers represented about 33 percent of all homebuyers based on data from NAR’s 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (HBS). This survey covers primary residence homebuyers and does not include investor purchases; it does include both existing and new home sales.

Five Tips 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!

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