by Broderick Perkins
It's buying time again.
(5/1/2012) - A host of factors point to 2012 as a good time to buy a home.
Interest rates are low
The average interest rate on 30-year conforming fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) hit a record low of 3.87 percent on Feb. 27, 2012. The average hasn't been above 4.08 all year, according to Freddie Mac.
The average interest rate for 15-year FRMs fell to an all time Freddie Mac low of 3.11 on April 12, 2012 and hasn't been above 3.30 percent all year.
Home prices are low, but moving up
The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported for the 12 months ending in February, U.S. home prices rose 0.4 percent, the first 12-month increase since the July 2006 — July 2007 interval.
The National Association of Realtors said the nationwide median list price for single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops (SFH/CTHCOPS) was $189,900 in March 2012, a 5.56 percent jump from a year ago.
RealFacts said rents were on the rise in the first quarter this year in every market but three of 47 metropolitan statistical areas it tracks. The national average increased by $16 a month from $994 a month in the fourth quarter 2011 to $1,008 a month in the first quarter 2012.
The National Multi Housing Council said for the first quarter 2012 its four indexes measuring Market Tightness (74), Sales Volume (57), Equity Financing (62) and Debt Financing (65) remained above 50 for the eighth time in the past nine quarters. Any number above 50 indicates quarter-to-quarter growth.
Forecasts say the recovery is on
The Urban Land Institute says over the next three years, home prices will begin to rise, increasing by as much as 3.5 percent in 2014; apartment rents this year will increase by 5 percent; and housing starts will nearly double by 2014.
"The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
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