I love the National Association of Realtors; they have stats for everything. If you want to see the latest market stats, trends and projections, I feel this is one of the first websites to visit. For instance they tell you that the number of first-time home buyers rose to 47%, up six percent over this time last year, the highest on record dating back to 1981. They tell you the median price of homes, where down payments come from, what the age is of buyers and sellers, and that 80% of consumers still choose full service agent representation when buying or selling property and why.
It's important to realize home sales are up over last year, in part driven by the extended tax credit, an increase in housing affordability, but also due to pent up demand and personal change of circumstance. According to some economist, we can expect a surge in the housing market this spring, signs for which are already present as we see a greater number of homes coming into the market. It is even more exciting to note the increase in activity above the first-time home buyer level. The prediction is that home sales are on track to increase in the coming year. All of this information is supported by statistics.
These stats do not necessarily mean that home prices are going to be on the rise. If we are fortunate they will stabilize as we realize that housing affordability is on the increase. The NAR Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a "typical family" can qualify for a mortgage loan on a "typical home". Typically, this is defined at length on the aforementioned NAR web site. What it tells us is that more people today have more than enough income to qualify for a home loan.
Nevertheless, all of this is dependent on the job market and consumer confidence. The continued creation of jobs will be instrumental to the success of a recovery in housing, no matter what statistics you reference. I remain patently optimistic as the real estate market improves - statistically speaking.
John VanderSyde is an Associate Broker with Virginia Properties, A Long & Foster Company, and is also a Licensed Architect. You can learn more about Ann & John VanderSyde By visiting their website www.InSydeHomes.com or by calling (804) 282-7300