National existing home sales volume fell 5.1 percent in January from the year before, but not for the reason you may think. Buyers want to buy, but there aren’t enough hassle-free (non-short sale or foreclosure) homes on the market.
In Atlantic County, 38% of all homes for sale in the first time homebuyer range (up to $150,000) are short sales or foreclosures.
In the next category, between $150,000 and $200,000, there are fewer distressed homes but still a significant amount of total inventory at 27% of homes for sale.
Home prices are slightly declining in Atlantic County due to more distressed home sales. Low & distressed inventories weren’t the only reason for slower sales. Explained Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, “Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception.”
Mortgage interest rates are also higher, making it more difficult for some buyers. Mortgage commitment rates eased slightly according to Freddie Mac, to 4.43 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, from 4.46 percent in December. That’s up a full point from January 2013 when rates were 3.43 percent.
These factors could mean some weakening in the housing market and in the overall economy for the first quarter of 2014. However, as more homeowners decide to sell through traditional sales, home prices will begin to rise again and buyer activity will increase as well.
If you are thinking of putting your home on the market, I would be happy to meet with you for a comparative market analysis to determine what your home is worth. Contact me at 609-204-1344.