Positive economic reports on housing continue, with October Pending Home Sales UP 3.7%. This was the ninth month in a row Pending Home Sales rose and the index is now 31.8% over October last year. Since this tracks the level of contracts on existing homes, Existing Homes Sales should continue their impressive rise for the next couple of months.
The National Association of Realtors also predicted sales of previously owned homes would go UP 4.8% this year, reversing the downward sales trend of the previous two years. For 2010, the NAR projects existing home sales UP 10.8%, with a 3.6% hike in the median price. For new homes, the median price is expected to rise 3.9%. Of course, smart homebuyers will act now to avoid these anticipated price increases AND take advantage of the newly extended and expanded tax credits. High net worth individuals are already showing up–in a recent survey, 35% said they planned to increase their investments in real estate. 45% of them contend there are significant opportunities in residential markets, with many bargains to be had.
Anyone need further incentive? Freddie Mac reported mortgage rates down for the fifth straight week, now at record lows! The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.71%, with an average 0.7 point, for prime borrowers with 20% down payments. That’s a new low for the survey which has been tracking rates since 1971.