Spring brought a hopeful thaw to housing data, as markets looked forward to things heating up in time for summer. Pending home sales were reported 14 percent higher than a year ago, and are at their highest level in nine years, according to April figures from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
In the same report, demand appeared stronger closer to metropolitan areas, and traditional homebuyers started to eclipse all-cash and investor-type purchases. Additionally, some parts of the country are seeing home price increases exceeding four times the pace of wage growth, which could make it tough for prospective homebuyers and first-timers.
Meanwhile, sales of new homes rebounded in April, up from the dip in March, as the spring buying season got underway. New Home Sales rose by 6.8 percent—up a whopping 26 percent over April of last year. New homes account for about 16 percent of all home sales. For details on Existing Home Sales (i.e., sales of pre-owned single-family homes) see the “What to Watch” section below.
New construction jumped an impressive 20.2 percent in April compared to March, and building permits increased 10 percent. On an annual basis, housing starts were up 9.2 percent, and permits 6.4 percent, showing evidence of continued improvement.
Also of note, the dollar remains strong due to the persistent economic troubles in Greece. Should this situation grow more uncertain, expect the dollar to strengthen further, which could help keep home loan rates lower in the short term.
For now, home loan rates continue to remain very attractive. If you or anyone you know has questions regarding refinancing, or wants to get ahead of the competition with a loan pre-approval, please get in touch today.