Home homebuyer august07

homebuyer august07

August, 2007 Newsletter

+++++++++++ August 1, 2007 +++++++++++++++++++

Introduction: Existing and New Home Sales Decline
Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Stabilize a Bit
This Month’s Tip: Online Resources

Introduction: Existing and New Home Sales Decline

Welcome to the August edition of the Home Buyer’s Newsletter. In sales activity in the month of June, both existing sales and new home sales showed significant declines.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – declined 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.75 million units in June from a downwardly revised level of 5.98 million in May, and are 11.4 percent below the 6.49 million-unit pace in June 2006.

Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, said some consumers are uncertain.  “Home buyers have been getting mixed signals about the housing market, which is causing some of them to hesitate,” he said.  “Mortgage interest rates have risen recently, and tightening lending standards are continuing to hamper sales, but fewer risky loans will put the market on a healthier path.  Although general buying conditions remain favorable for long-term home buyers, it appears some buyers are looking for more signs of stability before they have enough confidence to make an offer.”

In new home activity, sales of new one-family houses in June 2007 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 834,000, according to estimates released jointly on July 26th by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housin and Urban Development. This is 6.6 percent (±11.0%) below the revised May rate of 893,000 and is 22.3 percent (±10.1%) below the June 2006 estimate of 1,073,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in June 2007 was $237,900; the average sales price was $316,200. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was 537,000. This represents a supply of 7.8 months at the current sales rate.

Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Stabilize a Bit

Mortgage rates stabilized somewhat during the month of July. Although there were some fluctuations mid-month, rates ended the month very close to where they began. In 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, the end of July saw an average of 6.69% after starting the month at an average of 6.67% according to mortgage company Freddie Mac. In 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, the average rate began the month at 6.34% and ended the month at an average of 6.37%.

Going forward, we will need to get a clear picture on the direction of both the economy and inflation before a trend–either up or down–becomes established. If we continue to get somewhat conflicting reports then we may see another period like last month where rates rose and fell but ended up very close to where they began.

For current average mortgage rates, see the rates page.

For more information on mortgages, visit the Mortgage Section

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This Month’s Tip: Online Resources

If there is one change that has done the most to revolutionize the process of buying a home, it is the explosion of growth in the resources that are available online. The last 5 or so years have seen an incredible increase in what can be researched and handled from the comfort of your current home in front of a computer screen connected to the internet.

In addition to resources such as the Home Buyer’s Information Center, the basis of this newsletter, which offers hundreds of pages of information and can be found at: there are numerous other tools and resources available to you, including:

+ Ways to shop for a home
+ Ways to shop for a mortgage
+ How to get pricing information
+ Where to find professional assistance

Ways to shop for a home

The internet has made it possible to begin to shop for a home right from your desk–whether you are looking in your own neighborhood or thousands of miles away across the country. You can look at details, compare amenities, frequently see square footage information and more. You often can see numerous photos of the home and even, in some cases, “virtual tours” where you can put an eye on a room or rooms from corner to corner. You can find more information on finding a home online at: Find a Home

Shop for a mortgage

Not only are there many more mortgage options available today than there were just a few short years ago, there are many more mortgage sources. This both widens your choices and potentially makes the process a bit more confusing. The internet levels the field a good bit, though, since you can not only do research there on different mortgage products available but also do comparisons, apply online and even have lenders work for your business with competing offers. There is a large section on the site dealing with all aspects of the mortgage process: Mortgages

Get pricing information

Making sure that you pay the right price for a home should be a legitimate concern and a prime focus for the purchaser of a property. Since there are no “sticker prices” or suggested retail prices on resale homes and the fact that prices can vary greatly on new homes, it is important to get a clear picture of the value of any prospective home. You can do this in a number of ways, including Comparative Market Analyses and appraisals.See the section devoted to these subjects: Home Values

Find professional assistance

Buying a home is not a solitary activity. Whether for legal, convenience or comfort reasons, most buyers take advantage of a number of professionals–agents, attorneys, bankers, mortgage brokers, inspectors and the like. By assembling a good team of professionals, you make your own job a whole lot easier. Some resources to help:Finding Agents
Professional Inspectors and Inspections

In the final analysis, you can do much of the “legwork” online. Just remember that buying a home is not a television show or a video game. You will need to spend the time and effort to physically examine and assess any potential home. To try to finalize everything “sight unseen” may have worked well when property values were exploding (how wrong could you be?) but things are changing. Don’t shortchange yourself!

Next Month’s Tip: Inspection Essentials

The Home Buying Checklist

Many of our visitors have said that one of the most valuable aspects of the Home Buyer’s Information Center is the Buying Checklist, where they can make sure that all the bases have been touched. You can find the checklist here.

As always, if you have suggestions for improving the site, or topics you would like to see addressed in this newsletter (or, if you have used the Home Buyer’s Information Center to successfully purchase a home), drop us a quick line here.

A special thanks to all those who have written to let us know that they have found the Home Buyer’s Information Center a helpful resource in their buying process.

Have a great month and good luck in all your endeavors!

The Team at the Home Buyer’s Information Center