Thursday, January 26, 2012

2011 was the Worst New Home Sales Year on Record

I saw an article in the StarTribune today stating that 2011 was the worst new home sales year on record, at least dating back to 1963. New homes simply weren't as appealing to homebuyers, especially as foreclosures and short-sales continued to clog the market. However, with mortgage rates at historic lows and the economy picking up steam on the road to recovery, many analysts believe that 2012 will be better.

According to the article, sales of new homes rose in the fourth quarter of 2011, as did sales of previously occupied homes. Despite the slow market, data show that home construction also built up in the last three months of 2011.
The article quotes Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at High Frequency Economics, who said easier lending requirements, historically low mortgage rates and improved hiring all point to consistent, albeit slow, rises in sales in the coming months. "A sustained rise in new home sales is imminent," he said. "Homebuilders say so too, and they should know."

However, many economists also warn that the housing market is still near the bottom, and has a long way to go to get back to health. As noted above, many builders say that a "key reason for the dismal 2011 sales is that builders must compete with foreclosures and short sales — when lenders accept less for a house than what is owed on the mortgage."

Thankfully, we didn't suffer the same housing bubble here as in other parts of the state and nation. Our home values have remained more steady, making now a great time to buy or sell your house, especially with the low mortgage rates and pent-up demand from buyers.

If you are looking for a competent, professional real estate agent who is easy to work with and eager to help you make a great housing decision, please call me 320-894-7528. I would love to help you take advantage of these low interest rates, affordable options, and improving housing market.

Noah Hultgren

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year, New Lows

Happy New Year everyone!

New low rates for 30-year mortgages have come with the New Year. I just read an article from the Associated Press about how "Fixed mortgage rates fell once again to a record low, offering a great opportunity for those who can afford to buy or refinance homes."

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 3.89 percent, while the 15-year fixed mortgage rateinched down to 3.16 percent. That was the lowest rate on record, which have been kept since the 1950s.

The article goes on to state that "Builders are hopeful that the low rates could boost sales next year. Low mortgage rates were cited as a key reason the National Association of Home Builders survey of builder sentiment rose in December to its highest level in more than a year."

However, the article also acknowledges that fewer people have been able to take advantage of the low rates because of high unemployment rates and stagnant wages. Our area has fared better because of the strength of the farm economy, presenting a unique opportunity for buyers in the region to take advantage of lower sales prices AND lower rates.

If you are ready to buy a house, please give me a call at 320-894-7528.

Take care,
Noah Hultgren