Prices of Homes Go Up, But So Do Sales

Everybody keeps talking about how bad the mortgage industry is doing the past couple years. Could things be turning around for the better?

Just when you think the mortgage industry is in a slump, it looks like there is some light at the end of the tunnel. For the last quarter of 2009, sales of homes in the United States went up nearly 14 percent from the previous quarter. Those figures are staggering considering all the talk of the real estate industry going down the tubes and thousands of homeowners just walking away from their homes because they can no longer afford the mortgage payments.

That’s not the only good news, either. According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes, including condos and single-family homes, increased by about 27 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 when compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. In addition to that, sales of distressed properties accounted for only 32 percent of home sale transactions in the last quarter of 2009. That’s a drop of about five percent from the previous year.

About 32 states experienced a gain in home sales in the double digits. Also, home sales in 48 of the 50 states (including the District of Columbia) saw an increase in the sale of homes in the fourth quarter of 2009 over the third quarter of 2009. When comparing years instead of quarters, 49 states had increased sales in 2009 over 2008 and only three of those states reported an increase of less than 10 percent.

As far as prices go, the national median price for an existing single-family home in the last quarter of 2009 was up nearly three percent to about $173,000. While that is an increase from the third to fourth quarter, it is a decrease in price of about four percent from the fourth quarter of 2008. For condos in a metro areas, the median price in the fourth quarter of 2009 was about $177,300, which is a decline of nearly five percent from the last quarter of 2008. However, 11 metro regions saw an increase in median condo prices from the last quarter of 2008 whereas only four metro areas had price gains during the same periods.

In southern California, where the homes seem to be overpriced when compared to the rest of the nation, home values rose by about 8.6 percent in January when compared to January of 2009. The median price for a home in the Orange County area and beyond is currently about $271,500, which is a 6.1% decline from December, but it’s an overall increase from last year at this time. Part of the reason for this new median value is due to the larger number of Inland Empire homes, which are selling cheaper than other areas of southern California.

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the low mortgage rates before home values go up much more. Don’t wait until the homes get more expensive – do it today!

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