Whether in the market for a new home or considering a refinance, homebuyers and homeowners have a lot to wade through.
Home Sales Up in Much of U.S.
March Existing Home Sales were up 1.5 percent from a year prior, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. From February to March 2016, Existing Home Sales also jumped 5.1 percent after a decline in February. Sales rose in all four regions of the country.
Meanwhile, a sharp decline in the West sent New Home Sales lower by 1.5 percent in March. Across the country, sales in the East were unchanged while sales rose in the Midwest and South. Year-over-year sales were up 5.4 percent from March 2015. The New Home Sales report measures the number of newly constructed homes with a committed sale during the month.
Current sales inventory of existing and new homes is running lower than normal. That inventory gap might not be filled by new construction. Building Permits, which are a sign of future construction, declined 7.7 percent from February to March 2016, hitting a 12-month low. And Housing Starts (when excavation begins on a home) declined 8.8 percent in March from February. Despite the month-to-month decline, Housing Starts are up 14.2 percent in March 2016 from a year ago.
Home prices rose 6.8 percent from February 2015 to February 2016, according to housing analytics firm CoreLogic. The firm projects a 5.2 percent overall price increase for 2016. While home prices continue to rise, home loan rates have hovered near 52-week lows this spring, which is good news for homebuyers and homeowners considering a refinance.