In March, average fixed mortgage rates moved lower than in recent months. In fact, they actually average even lower than this time last year. That’s particularly good news in light of the pick-up in the residential real estate market. This spring season has already resulted in a dramatic shift from buyer to seller’s market in much of the country.
While buyer traffic is up 40 percent from last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), lower inventory is what’s keeping sales in check–and driving prices higher.
Higher prices mean more borrowing, as evidenced by the jump in the number of jumbo mortgage applications recently. The NAR reports that sales are up by 38.7 percent from a year ago for homes with values between $750,000 to $1 million and 25.7 percent for homes over $1 million. That’s quite a remarkable comeback when you consider that jumbos were essentially unavailable in the wake of the housing crises. The hot areas of the country for high-net home sale activity include San Francisco Bay, Chicago’s north shore and the Hamptons.
Itchy snowbirds may be out searching for a vacation home to help escape the long winter months of extreme weather that we now seem to be experiencing. Warmer cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas saw the largest increases in their February year-over-year asking home prices–at jumps of 24.9 and 20.7 percent respectively.
After years of watching home values drop, it’s good to see the market rebound. Even if you’re planning on staying put, home sales at higher prices in your area will help increase the value of your home. And, by the way, your property taxes.
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