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Latest Statistics Boost a Buyer's Market

February existing-home sales and prices were recently released by the National Association of Realtors. The numbers show a steady increase, which means now is definitely the time to buy. Sales have been above year-ago levels for almost a full year,Total existing-home sales, which means completed transactions 10.2 percent above last year at this same time. This year, February sales were at the highest level ever since November 2009.The increase in numbers is great news for both buyers and sellers. The demand for housing means the economy is continually improving causing home sales to rise. However, although home prices are rising quickly, mortgage rates are still at historic lows, which makes home purchases affordable.Total housing inventory is also increasing, which means more people are putting their homes on the market, allowing buyers to have a great selection. Homes on the market in February were at nearly 2 million homes. In the Real Estate world, that represents about a 4.7 month supply. Home inventory reached its peak about a year ago when there was a 6.4 month supply.With more demand and less inventory, the prices of homes will rise, which is why it’s important for buyers to get in now while interest rates are low. The national median price for an existing home was $173,600 in February. This is up over 10 percent from this time last year. Home prices have continued to steadily increase over the last year, but this gain is the strongest in nearly a decade.Some of the increased in sales is due to foreclosures and short sales, but these are far from the majority. Foreclosures and short sales account for about 25 percent of the total housing market, which is lower than last year’s 34 percent.All of this information combined means good things for buyers. The NAR President Gary Thomas, said interest rates remain extraordinarily low. "In the history of mortgage interest rates since 1971, the 30-year fixed rate has been below 4 percent in only 15 months, and those have all been in the past 15 months," he said. "Even with rising home prices, affordability remains historically favorable because home prices over-corrected during the downturn. This means there is still great value for buyers in the current market."However, homes are moving quickly. One out of three homes sold in February was on the market for less than a month. Homes are coming and going everyday, so it’s important to get in and find the home you’re looking for.

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