Region's real estate keeps up with the weather
Pending Sales jumped nearly 18 percent over the last year (to 1065) with closed sales increasing 10 percent from July 2014 to 1031 for the month. The play between low inventory levels and rising prices are key factors. Market-wide, inventory levels decreased nearly 9 percent.
Nationwide, the percent share of first-time buyers dipped in July from 30 percent in June to 28 percent. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, points to several challenges first-time buyers face. "The fact that first-time buyers represented a lower share of the market compared to a year ago even though sales are considerably higher is indicative of the challenges many young adults continue to face," adds Yun. "Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a down payment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options."
Regionally, prices were up compared to July 2014 causing the Median Sales Price to increase by 9 percent to $220,000. On average, sellers are receiving 95.1 percent of listing price at sale since last year, which favors more activity from sellers.
The housing market has steadily rebounded since June 2009 to once again become a cornerstone of the national economy. Many trends continue to reveal a stable housing market. Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, has predicted a fine-tuning of monetary policy, and it is widely believed that interest rates will go up before the year is over. According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage climbed to 4.05 percent in July from 3.98 percent in June — the first time above 4 percent since November 2014 (4.00 percent) and the highest since September 2014 (4.16 percent).
Greater Capital Association of REALTORS® (GCAR) President, Cathy Griffin, remains optimistic. “It’s been a very busy summer for the REALTOR® in the Capital Region. The lag created by the long winter heated up the real estate market in July and August right along with the weather.
Although interest rates are expected to bump up by 2016, mortgage rates are still remarkably low ”remarked Griffin. “Combined with improved lending standards, higher wages and planned growth for the region we are looking forward to a continued positive market in the coming months.”
GCAR CEO Laura Burns agrees, “The Capital Region’s growing commercial activity is expected to have a favorable impact on the residential sales market for the third and fourth quarters as buyers continue to enter the local housing marker and closings mark the fall calendar.”
The Greater Capital Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade association officially
representing more than 2,800 real estate professionals in the Capital Region. GCAR is the “Voice for Real Estate™ in the Capital Region.