According to NAR Home prices have climbed in 85% of U.S. metropolitan home markets as low mortgage rates and the strongest labor market in almost 7 years spurred demand.
The median price of an existing single-family home rose from a year earlier in 148 of the 174 areas measured, the NAR said in a recent report.
Fifty-one areas had price gains of 10% or more; prices declined in 25 areas.
“The housing market is benefiting as employment returns to pre-crisis levels” says a spokeperson at NAR.
Contracts to buy homes rose in March to the highest level for the month since 2005, according to the NAR. (March is the latest statics available).
The unemployment rate was 5.5% in February and March, (a level the Federal Reserve defines as full employment) the rate dropped to 5.4% in April.
Also “boomerang buyers” have become eligible again and studies have shown that once consumers have owned a home (but then forced to rent because of “life circumstances”) purchase home in higher numbers than those who are currently renting.
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Rates are down from 2014.
Lower interest rates are bolstering affordability for buyers.
The avg. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.71% this year through April, compared with 4.36% in April 2014.
For 2015, the avg. rates are projected at 3.9%, down from 4.2% last year.
The median price for an existing single-family home in the first 3 months (2015) was $205,200, up 7.4% from the 1ST quarter of 2014.
Prices probably will gain 5.9% in 2015, compared with 5.7% in 2014, the association said in a forecast on its website.
Sales of existing homes this year probably will rise 6.8% to 5.3 million after dropping about 3% in 2014.
That would be the most since 2013, the first year of the housing recovery.