For the first time since July of 2007, home sales are on the upswing. Sales rose by 2.9 percent in February after a dramatic six-month decline that has sent the housing market on a downturn. While sales are still down from the previous year, this marks the building of momentum toward recovery and a healthy housing market.
What’s the most surprising factor?
Sales jumped before spring, showing an interest to move homes in anticipation of the coming season. An early jump on sales suggests that in-season home sales should follow this upward trend. While we’re still waiting on the March sales results, this incredibly promising February is sending a wave of positive energy through the ready-for-change real estate market. The surprising upturn even gave Wall Street a boost, with major creditors and investors regaining a small chunk of the year’s major losses.
The region that saw the biggest sales increase was the Northeast, while a smaller, steadier gain occurred in the Midwest. The only decrease in sales occurred on the West Coast, where home sales have remained relatively steady through the bubble and the succeeding downturn. Overall growth may not immediately lead to a full-scale recovery, but certainly gives home sellers the leg-up that they need to get selling!
Homes were selling at an 8.2 percent lower price than the year before, according to the National Association of Realtors. While this may be one of the most dramatic price drops we’ve seen, it’s important to consider the significant, inflated prices that single-family homes and condominiums were priced at in the height of the housing bubble. Mortgage rates are still at the sweet spot, just under six percent; refinancing and getting a first mortgage can be a great deal for eligible buyers. This downturn in price, combined with an increase in sales, proves that the market is leveling out for long-term prosperity.