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More Buyers Willing to Enter Market Nationwide & Other Newsy Stuff

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California and Texas Noted for Economic Improvements; More Buyers Willing to Enter Market Nationwide

As most Americans are aware, the U.S. economy is experiencing significant recovery, with improvements in real estate pulling us out of the Great Recession and into an exciting new economic landscape. Despite early skepticism, now even the most cautious of critics are starting to breathe a sigh of relief as housing markets begin to thrive and consumer confidence increases.

Central California Home Sellers In Prime Position
American Financial Resources, a leading national mortgage provider, recently published several stories highlighting these impressive economic changes. One such story highlighted the central California region as one of the nation's real estate hot spots - with sellers markets in full swing and buyers scrambling to purchase property. Using data released by CNN Money, American Financial Resources reports that the cities of Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton and San Jose are prime markets for home sellers, with low DOM figures and higher-than-average asking prices.

Oakland in particular gained the highest recognition, as CNN Money named it the top market for home sellers with a median asking price of $419,000 and average DOM of only 14 days. As homes in Oakland are being scooped up about two weeks after they hit the market, one can imagine that the buyer competition is fierce. While other CA metros are posting higher median asking prices (San Jose's was $607,000), the incredibly low DOM in Oakland is what really makes it a hotbed of purchase activity. American Financial Resources reports that buyers in these markets are highly motivated, willing to offer higher bids and are eager to stand out among the competition.

Texas - Where the Jobs Are
In other regional news, Texas was recently recognized as one of the best states for jobs, according to reports from Monster.com, a popular job listing and employment statistics site. According to Monster, two of the five major markets to find gainful employment in 2013 are Houston and Dallas. Low unemployment rates and high wage growth were the key indicators of these top-ranking job destinations. Houston's unemployment rate at the time of the report was 6.3% (currently 6.4%) and the rate of wage growth was 3.9%. In Dallas, the unemployment rate was also 6.3% (now 7.0%) and wage growth was at a rate of 3.5%.

Although the unemployment figures for both cities have since increased slightly, they remain below the national average of 7.6%. The jobs that are in the most demand for these areas include engineers, petroleum industry workers, scientists and tax specialists.

In addition to Dallas and Houston, Austin and Fort Worth were also recognized by Forbes magazine as some of the "Best Cities for Good Jobs" in February. The booming job market in the Lone Star State is likely due to expansions in the energy and research industries, coupled with Texas' continually thriving student population, with area colleges and technical schools churning out a skilled and educated workforce year after year.

Fear of Real Estate Subsiding

Not only have there been strong advancements in statewide and regional economies, the nation itself is gradually benefitting from improved job markets and people are finally starting to feel safe about entering the real estate market again. The American Financial Resources blog featured this trend on one of their posts in April, noting that the percentage of Americans who consider owning a home to be an essential part of the American Dream hit a 3-year high at 79 percent. These figures come from the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey.

This significant improvement is likely the result of several other economic boosts, including improved employment conditions, government-backed incentives for homeownership (like the Home Affordable Refinance Program and streamlined FHA loans) and fewer distressed properties on the market. People are not only feeling more confident about putting their homes on the market, they're receiving more offers, better offers and are more likely to get a higher price now that home values have started to climb again.

For homeowners who were significantly underwater in their mortgages (owing more on the loan than their homes are currently worth), they can now begin to build equity again and perhaps even qualify for refinancing - something that was next to impossible for owners who purchased at the market's peak, just before values plummeted. Thanks to the government programs like HARP and HAMP, more homeowners are able to refinance or get permanent loan modifications to help them avoid foreclosure and build value.

In summary, it looks like the U.S. is poised for another booming real estate market. We're beginning to see more and more local markets thrive, unemployment is remaining low and Americans are feeling more confident about making major purchases in real estate. For more updates on the real estate and mortgage industry, head over to the official American Financial Resources blog.