The housing market continues to rebound, though at a modest pace. The National Association of Realtors reported that Existing Home Sales rose by 1 percent from November to December. That was the first monthly gain in three months. The big picture, however, looks a little better. When you compare 2013 to 2012, you see that Existing Home Sales gained 9.1 percent.
On the foreclosure front, RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure filings plunged by 26 percent from 2012 to 2013, with 1.4 million foreclosures recorded last year. That was the lowest total since 2007 as the housing sector continues to gain traction. In addition, the November reading of the Case Shiller 20-city Index of home prices was up 13.7 percent year-over-year.
Like any modest rebound, there are dips and slowdowns from time to time. For example, New Home Sales dropped 7 percent from November to December, and the November figure was lowered from what it was originally reported. Similarly, Housing Starts in December declined by 9.8 percent from November, but came in just above expectations. Building Permits, a sign of future construction, fell by 3 percent.
The broader economy is also still experiencing an uneven recovery. Retail Sales in December came in above expectations; however, that number was lower than the number recorded in November. Durable Goods also came in weaker than expected in December.
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 at all for you.
Seth Gallaher, Owner
American Liberty Mortgage, inc.