Vero Beach Real Estate Pending Home Sales Up
Record low mortgage interest rates boosted pending home sales for the third consecutive month, with some benefit now from the first-time buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in April, rose 6.7 percent to 90.3 from a reading of 84.6 in March, and is 3.2 percent above April 2008 when it was 87.5.
NAR President Charles McMillan says there are numerous buyer assistance programs around the country. “Some states are offering bridge loans that allow first-time buyers to use the tax credit for downpayment and closing costs, but there are many other local government and nonprofit programs available to buyers, depending on location.
NAR’s Housing Affordability Index (HAI) is in record territory. The index rose to 174.8 in April from an upwardly revised 171.9 in March, and was the second highest monthly reading on record after peaking at 176.9 in January of this year. The HAI is a broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, which examines the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income. Tracking began in 1970.
A median-income family, earning $60,900, could afford a home costing $296,800 in April with a 20 percent downpayment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest. Affordability conditions for first-time buyers with the same income and small downpayments are roughly 80 percent of that amount. The affordable price was well above the median existing single-family home price in April, which was $169,800.
“In addition, the relationship between contracts on pending home sales and closings on existing-home sales is taking longer than in the past for several reasons,” Yun says. “Mortgage processing time has increased, it is taking many months to close on those homes requiring short sales with lender approval, and some sales are falling through at the last moment.”
The total number of existing-home sales is expected to improve but with dramatic local market variation in the timing of recovery. “The market has already bottomed in some areas, but this is an unusual housing cycle with some areas improving rapidly while others languish or decline,” Yun says.