Low mortgage rates are helping to make homes more affordable. It appears home buyers have taken notice.
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, Existing Home Sales rose 3.4% in April from the month prior, registering 4.62 million homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis.
An "existing home" is a home that's been previously occupied. April's sales volume represents a 10 percent jump from April of last year.
For buyers and sellers in Metro Atlanta, the April Existing Home Sales report supports the notion that the housing market may be improving; that the "bottom" occurred sometime in late-2011. Home values have been rising in many U.S. markets and home builders now report the highest levels of foot traffic through models since 2007.
Demand for U.S. housing is growing.
It also helps that home affordability is at an all-time high. Not in recorded history have this many homes for sale been affordable to buyers earning a moderate household income, on a percentage basis. Additionally, there is now a larger stock of homes from which buyers can choose.
In April, the number of homes for sale nationwide jumped 9.5 percent to 2.54 million -- the largest home resale inventory of the year.
At the current pace of sales, it would take 6.6 months for the complete home inventory to sell. Analysts consider a 6.0-month supply to be a market in balance. Anything less than a 6-month supply suggests a "buyer's market".
Home values peaked nationwide in April 2007. Since then, it's been an uneven recovery. Some markets came back quickly, while others did not. On a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, even, there's signifcant variance in how home values have fared.
In other words, although the April Existing Home Sales report indicates housing strength nationally, it's the local data that matters most to today's buyers and sellers. To get real-time real estate data for a particular street or area, talk with a local real estate agent.
For more information about the Atlanta area real estate market, please email me at email@example.com or call me at 404.918.2500.
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