First, existing home sales in April jumped more than three percent over March numbers. Also, overall inventory was down and, the biggie, according to the National Association of Realtors, is that median home prices were up more than 10 percent from last year. Another plus is that new home starts are moved to an annualized rate of 717 homes—the highest level since 2008. Even better, those stats are for all four regions of the country. On the West Coast, for example, existing-home sales in April were 7.3 percent above last year and the median price ($221,700) soared 15.9 percent. In Los Angeles and nearby communities, for example, multiple offer situations are increasing. Real estate gurus like NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun credits “job growth, low interest rates, bargain home prices and an improving economy.” Add to the mix pent-up demand, rising rents and the realization that record low interest rates won’t last forever, and becoming a homeowner is looking good for the rest of the year. Increased sales of new homes will provide new hope where foreclosure inventory is high, predicts Celia Chen, a housing analyst for Moody’s Analytics. She says buyers “will forgo distressed homes that tend to be in disrepair in favor of newly built homes.” That’s more than speculation, too. Toll Brothers, Inc., the largest luxury home builder, just reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and a strong jump in new orders.
Start smiling. The housing market is!