Home Sales Increase and Spring Looks Promising for Realtors

April 20, 2012 / Russell Legato, Residential Property Analyst

As home sales increase, the spring is looking like a period of recovery for the real estate industry.  After five years of decline, the spring of 2012 looks promising. The first quarter showed significant, although not gigantic, improvement. Real estate professionals and those wanting to sell a house are hopeful.

Home Sales Increase and Spring Looks Promising for Realtors

The housing market has seen unbelievably low listing prices, foreclosures at an unprecedented rate and short sales. The reduced values on homes caused many homeowners to sell for less than they needed to pay off the mortgage. Those who lost homes to foreclosure needed places to live. As a result, rents have increased on average.

The record-low interest rates on mortgages are encouraging potential buyers to take this opportunity to find a house. However, banks are no longer freely stamping “approved” on the mortgage applications. Trends have reversed and only those with excellent credit and a 20 percent down payment are easily approved.

In the meantime, open houses are seeing larger crowds and investors, both domestic and foreign, are purchasing the foreclosed on houses at bargain-basement prices.  It is unlikely that listing prices will drop further. It might be an impetus to buy now, considering the interest rates could move upward at any time.

Economists think that there is reason to expect prices to begin to go up. Fear of losing out might encourage a significant number of buyers to act now.

In Miami, prices are rising on condos. They were down to $214,000 and are now at $270,900 on average. The sale price on other residential property rose about 14 percent. The other cities in Florida have not seen that kind of progress. The foreclosures there may keep prices on other homes low for some time to come.

One leading realtor in California noted a 35 percent increase in sales over the same time period in 2011. However, limited recovery is happening in suburban Las Vegas, Central California or Atlanta, Georgia. Other areas such as Cleveland, sees the prices continuing to drop. In the meantime, Boston is beginning to note a high degree of recovery. It isn’t realistic to expect a full recovery, but the economy is definitely improving.

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