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LOS ANGELES — California’s median home sales price soared more than 8 percent from February to March – the latest evidence of the fast-paced recovery in the state’s housing market as buyers compete for thin supplies, a research firm said Thursday.
Fixed mortgage rates fell after a disappointing jobs report, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate retreating to 3.64%, according to Bankrate. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.35 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate pulled back to 2.89%, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage is at the lowest point of the year, 4.03%.
Adjustable-rate mortgages were lower across the board, albeit more modestly. The 5-year ARM and 7-year ARM are at the lowest levels in the past month, at 2.7% and 2.9%, respectively.
Mortgage rates have now fallen for four consecutive weeks. The pullback started with the banking crisis in Cyprus, continued with a run of uninspiring U.S. economic data, and picked up speed with the weak jobs report. But as the sting of the lousy jobs report slowly wears off, we’ll likely see mortgage rates crawling back over the coming week.
The last time mortgage rates were above 5% was April 2011. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 5.07%, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,082.22. With the average rate currently at 3.64%, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $913.79, a difference of $168 per month for anyone refinancing now.
Realtor.com’s February 2013 national housing data indicates that listing inventories increased 1.15 percent month-over-month; median age of inventory was at 98 days, a 9.26 percent decrease month-over-month; and median list prices were slightly higher month-over-month at $189,900. These numbers show that home buyers are getting an early start on the spring season despite the fact that inventories recently hit record lows.
The median age of inventory was down by 9.26 percent month over month and total listings are up 1.15 percent month over month, suggesting that many reluctant home sellers are starting to take an early advantage of the recent improvements in housing prices. Annual inventory decreases of -15.97 percent are consistent with a gradual, yet persistent downward trend that has been occurring over the last two years. From January 2013 to February 2013, the median age of inventory decreased in 145 of the 146 markets tracked by realtor.com. The national median list price also reversed its downward trend, rising by 1.55 percent over the month of February and 1.01 percent on an annual basis. In addition, the number of markets experiencing a decline in home prices is shrinking, implying more good news for the housing market and U.S. economy at large.
There continue to be pronounced regional differences in the strength of the housing market. Several areas in California are experiencing the highest increases in list prices coupled with the largest inventory declines. Phoenix, Seattle and Denver are also among the top performers across the U.S. However, many smaller industrialized markets in the Midwest and the Northeast registered year-over-year price declines, as did Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City. While the number of markets experiencing year-over-year list price declines had been increasing, this pattern appears to be turning around as home list prices increased in 78 markets last month on a year-over-year basis and declined in 39.
WASHINGTON (March 21, 2013) – February existing-home sales and prices affirm a healthy recovery is underway in the housing sector, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales have been above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months, while prices show 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.
February was a stellar month for housing and apartment starts. Builders broke ground on a lot of new construction, and they also received building permits for future construction at the fastest pace in 4.5 years.
That’s a sign that things are heading the right way. And it’s also some much needed positive news. The good news comes at a time when the industry is preparing itself for the spring buying season.