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Diane Gallagher

Are home prices on the rise? Some indicators turn positive

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Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 7:54 am

Are homebuyers stepping up to purchase homes before home prices rise and mortgage rates increase? CNN says, “Americans are stepping up to purchase homes while they can still find bargains.”

July home sales rose 2.3percent from June, and 10.4percent from a year earlier, to an annual rate of 4.47 million, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors. The market has been bolstered by low home prices and mortgage rates, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s (National Association of Realtors) chief economist, but the inability of some potential buyers to obtain financing has cut into sales. “The market is constrained by tight lending standards and shrinking inventory supplies, so housing could easily be much stronger without these frictions,” he said.

Yun also said, “home sales are still below what he would consider normal, which would be between 5 million and 5.5 million.

Elizabeth Ptacek, a Senior Real Estate analyst for Key Bank, said economic factors still limit home sales. “Mortgages are available if people have good credit and enough cash for a down payment,” she said. “But with the [slow] job growth and consumer confidence still low, even if you can get a mortgage, you have to think twice about buying.”

According to a panel of industry experts, July sales came in slightly below forecasts which had predicted an annual sales rate of 4.57 million.

Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial, said the psychology of the market has turned. With mortgage rates coming off of historic lows and home prices on the rise, homebuyers are more likely to think that prices will rise, making them more inclined to buy.

NAR reported a rise in the median home price of 9.6percent in July, compared with a year earlier, to $187,300. Listing inventory has fallen to a 6.5 month supply, down 24percent from a year earlier.

The National Association of Realtors President Moe Veissi, stressed that pricing homes at the right level is key. “Correctly priced homes are selling quickly these days,” he said. “Fully one-third of homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, and only 21percent were on the market for six months or longer.”

There are approximately 150 single family homes in Lodi and surrounding areas that are Active and need home buyers. Contact your local Realtor to help you find your perfect home.

Diane Gallagher is the president of the Lodi Association of Realtors.