We’re heading into the new year with good news in the housing market. For example, research firm CoreLogic reported last month that foreclosures continued to decline across the nation. As you can see in the chart next to this article, there were 48,000 completed foreclosures in October. That was down 30 percent from the 68,000 completed in October 2012.
In addition, the foreclosure inventory declined by 28 percent this year while the rate of serious delinquency is at its lowest level since November 2008. RealtyTrac also reported that foreclosure inventory fell by 15 percent from October to November. That was good news for the housing industry, but with almost 900,000 properties across the nation still in foreclosure—a level four times the norm—the housing recovery still has more to go.
In other housing news, CoreLogic reported that home prices—including distressed sales—rose in October 2013 compared to October 2012. That marked the twentieth month of year-over-year home price gains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that home and rent prices rose over the past year, as demand for both increased.
New Home Sales also surged in October and Housing Starts soared in November by 22.7 percent, which was the largest percentage increase since January 1990 and the biggest rate in five years. Although Building Permits declined slightly compared to the previous month, they still came in above expectations. Speaking of building, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the Housing Market Index jumped 4 points in December to come in above expectations, as builders cited pent up demand for the increase.
In other economic news, the Consumer Price Index—which measures inflation at the consumer level—was unchanged in November, thanks in large part to declining gas prices offsetting the increases in electricity and fuel oil.
Finally, the final reading of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter came in above expectations and at the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2011. The rise was due in part to an increase in consumer spending, a buildup in business inventories, and business spending in software.
The bottom line is that now remains a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance, as home loan rates remain attractive compared to historical levels. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.
Seth Gallaher, Owner
American Liberty Mortgage, inc.