Existing home sales surged this winter, making the spring home-buying season look even more promising. January and February made up the best winter for re-sales in five years, when the housing crisis began. Newly released figures from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reflect that sales of previously owned homes increased nearly 9% since this time last year. Aside from a slight dip in February, this winter has proven to be one of the most robust housing markets since 2008.
Contract signings are usually a good indicator of where the housing market is headed. An increase in contract signings is among recent indicators of a slight pick-up in the housing market. NAR reported an index of home sales agreements declined 0.5 percent in February to a reading of 96.5. January’s reading of 97 was the highest since April 2010, which was the last month that buyers were able to qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit. To put those numbers in context, a reading of 100 or higher is considered healthy. The last time home sales reached 100 was April 2010.
All of this good news seems to be increasing builders’ confidence. In February, they requested the most permits to build single-family homes and apartments since October 2008. And that’s not the only positive ripple effect the improving housing market is having. In the ABC News video clip (Housing Sales Surge) below, Diane Sawyer and team show the positive ripple effect the sale of just one house can have.
Homes are the most affordable they’ve been in years and mortgage rates remain at an all-time low. In addition, an improving job market may also be helping home sales. The White House reported that an average of 245,000 jobs per month from December through February were added. Plus, the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years.
It looks like the housing market is entering the Spring buying season in full bloom! In Fort Lauderdale, home sales have continually improved month over month. In fact, at Luxury Living Fort Lauderdale, we have noticed the inventory of luxury homes for sale in Fort Lauderdale decrease dramatically, while home prices are on the rise.