Just about as often as the weather changes so, too, does the National Association of Realtors (NAR) come out with a new Existing Home Sale Report (a new one every month). This report is very important for both real estate professionals and those looking at purchasing real estate as it can often give great insight into the current market shift and how best to proceed in order to maximize your investment. The major focuses of this specific report center around both the trending prices and the trending sales of existing homes (homes already built including condos, single family residences, etc). This pertinent information will allow us to create a better opportunity when it comes to negotiating the sale of a house and whether or not waiting is fiscally responsible. For now all we can do is look at the average sales and average prices and make our best judgment.
Home sales are the driving force behind any real estate market. When the NAR does their monthly Existing Home Sales Report they divide the country into 4 major sections as to allow for a broader scope of each region. The sections are the West, Midwest, Northeast, and South. The home sales are then averaged in each section to give you a general idea as to how each market is doing. The Northeast section is actually doing poorly at 0% growth in month-over-month sales. Leading the way is the South with 3.4% while the West and the Midwest fall in between the two extremes at 2.6% and 1.7% respectively. This means that the country, as a whole, has seen existing home sales increase an average of 2.4% over the last month. This is good news considering low home sales at the beginning of the year.
Now, home prices, while they can play a large role in the number of home sales have not had as large of an effect as they did last year. The home prices are averaged and compared year-over-year as opposed to month-over-month. The section of the country that saw the highest gains this month was the West at 6.3%. The lowest was the Northeast at 2.4% with the South and Midwest rounding out the group at 5% and 4.1% respectively. Even if there were no increased home sales (Northeast) there were still rising home values in each of the 4 sections. When all the sections are averaged out the country is seen to have had a 4.9% increase in home prices. With this valuable information (and those from previous months) we can track the success of the housing market in both number of sales and home prices. Of course, when this is broken down on a state-by-state level we find that there are more variations and patterns are harder to identify, but the principle is still the same. If you want to make a smart investment in an uncertain market then you have to know where the market is headed. According to the latest from the NAR, that is up up up!