Pending home sales are up

Real Estate Sales Representative with SCHNEIDER Real Estate

With mortgage rates potentially increasing, now is the right time to buy a home

Some goods news for the housing market–pending home sales rose in February by 8.2%, possibly showing another surge of sales as the deadline draws near for many government assistance programs, including the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

Pending home sales rose in February, potentially signaling a second surge of home sales in response to the home buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 8.2 percent to 97.6 from a downwardly revised 90.2 in January, and remains 17.3 percent above February 2009 when it was 83.2. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months. In the Midwest the index jumped 21.8 percent to 97.9 and is 18.7 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the improvement is another hopeful sign. “The rise in buyer contract activity may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. Also, we’re hearing about a rise of activity in recent weeks with ongoing reports of multiple offers in more markets, so the March data could demonstrate additional improvement from buyers responding to the tax credit,” Yun said.

Here’s another interesting take on the increase in home sales. According to Jean Folger of the Wall Street Journal, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) expects the rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage to increase to 6.1% by the end of the year. For the week ending March 19, the interest rate was 4.91%.

As an example, the monthly payment on a $180,000 30-year mortgage (excluding taxes and private mortgage insurance) at 6.1% will be a monthly payment of $1,091, with total interest paid equal to $212, 685.

The same loan at 4.91% rate will be a $956 monthly payment (saving $135 per month) with total interest equal to $164,305, which is a substantial savings of $48,380 over the course of the loan. Even the most insignificant mortgage rate changes can have a major impact on the total cost of a home.

This is just another reason to purchase a home this spring.

Written by Myra Vandersall


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