Monday, March 7, 2011

March 2011-Real Estate Market Update

March 2011 Market Update
Gradual progress in the housing market continues at a steady pace without government support. The market has shown remarkable improvement from the initial drop after the expiration of the home buyer tax credit this past July. Although higher-than-normal distressed sales skew the overall picture of home prices downward, inventory continues to shrink and sales continue to rise. The rock-bottom interest rates of 2010 are likely to trend upward. As economists anticipate rates at or above 6% by the end of 2012, buyers are moving off the sidelines and into the market.
A good sign for long-term market stability is that the median down payment on conventional mortgages has risen to 22%, up from 4% in 2006 and slightly above the 20% standard in the 1990s. This may keep buyers looking in slightly lower price ranges, but it is a good sign of future sustainability for homeowners and banks alike. There are still ample opportunities for those who would like down payments below 20%, including some conventional mortgages and those backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development loans.
As the economy improves, stimulus efforts by the government and the Federal Reserve Board will gradually wind down, which typically means rising interest rates. Meanwhile, buyers continue to benefit from historically favorable buying conditions and sellers are encouraged by increased market stability.
Home Sales
in millions
The increasing trend in existing home sales activity continued through January, and for the first time rose above year-ago levels when the home buyer tax credit was in effect. This marks the sixth monthly increase since July when the tax credit expired, and indicates a recovery that’s gaining a firmer footing without government support.

Home Price
in thousands
Home prices softened in January with median home prices decreasing slightly to $158,800 - 3.7% below the year-ago level. Contributing to this is a larger share of distressed homes sales, which accounted for 37% of sales in January compared to 30%-35% throughout much of 2010. Prices and mortgage rates remain favorable for buyers.

Inventory- Month's Supply
in months
The uptick in home sales and a shrinking inventory pared down the month’s supply to 7.6 months, a decrease of 7.3% from December and 1% from year-ago levels. This is the lowest level in more than a year and marks the first time since July that the month’s supply is below where it was the previous year. Months of inventory has declined steadily (64%) from its peak of 12.5 months in July and is now back to pre-tax credit expiration levels. The supply of inventory is not far from a seller’s market, which is less than 6 month’s supply.

Source: National Association of Realtors - housing data released Feb 23.
Interest Rates
Mortgage rates jumped above 5% for the first time since April 2009 in January. While rates dipped back to just below 5%, they are expected to continue an upward trend throughout the year. As overall economic recovery remains on track, rates will likely rise to keep inflation in check. Buyers wanting to capture the savings in monthly payments that a historically low interest rate affords are expected to take advantage of excellent buying conditions.

Source: Freddie Mac, Rates as of Mar 3.
This Month's Video

Topics For Home Owners, Buyers & Sellers
Preparing your home for sale in a buyer’s market can seem daunting, but these five tips will help you get the best price in the least amount of time.
  • Organizing and cleaning is crucial when prepping a home for sale. Potential home buyers have a more positive reaction to homes that are clutter-free and give them the feeling that the home is “move-in ready.”
  • Presale home inspection can inform you of any trouble areas within your home that can stand out to potential buyers. An inspection can also help you make any repairs necessary before future open houses.
  • Determine replacement estimates before listing your home, even if you are not planning on making the replacements yourself. This information can help buyers to make informed decisions.
  • Have your warranties ready – especially for all those home appliances that will stay within the home after the sale.
  • Curb appeal is a crucial factor because it determines first impressions. A negative first impression can cloud their entire opinion about the home.
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Brought to you by KW Research. For additional graphs and details, please see the This Month in Real Estate PowerPoint Report.
The opinions expressed in This Month in Real Estate are intended to supplement opinions on real estate expressed by local and national media, local real estate agents and other expert sources. You should not treat any opinion expressed in This Month in Real Estate as a specific inducement to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of opinion. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., does not guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information, and provides said information without warranties of any kind. All information presented herein is intended and should be used for educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. All investments involve some degree of risk. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information contained in This Month in Real Estate.
Smitha and Rahul Ramchandani are a licensed real estate Broker-Salesperson/Sales Representative Team with Keller Williams in New Jersey. They are Buyer Specialists and a Home Marketing Experts. You can reach Smitha and Rahul and their team online at:
Smitha and Rahul and their team specialize in North-Central New Jersey and all Morris County Towns such as Boonton, Chatham, Chester, Convent Station, Denville, East Hanover, Florham Park, Hanover, Harding Twp., Mendham, Montville, Morristown, Morris Plains, Morris Twp., Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Randolph, Rockaway, Whippany