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Homes Sales On The Rise
On the topic of first-time buyers, NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida said government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a duty to ensure there's access to mortgage credit for creditworthy borrowers wanting to buy a home.
"Unfortunately, overly burdensome fees at the GSEs are making homeownership difficult for moderate-income buyers. Fannie and Freddie can reduce the cost of borrowing while still protecting taxpayers, and we're hopeful they'll take these steps to ensure prospective buyers are able to enter the market," he said.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage inched up in September for the first time since March, rising to 3.46 percent from 3.44 percent in August. The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.
Distressed sales 4 — foreclosures and short sales — fell to a new low of 4 percent in September (since NAR began tracking in October 2008), down from 5 percent in August and 7 percent a year ago. Three percent of September sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent below market value in September (12 percent in August), while short sales were discounted 11 percent (14 percent in August).
Properties typically stayed on the market for 39 days in September, up from 36 days in August but down considerably from a year ago (49 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 118 days in September, while foreclosures sold in 67 days and non-distressed homes took 38 days. Forty-four percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
Inventory data from Realtor.com® (link is external) reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in September were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 34 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 35 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 38 days; and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., and Salt Lake City, Utah, both at 39 days.
All-cash sales were 21 percent of transactions in September, down from 22 percent in August and 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in September, up from 13 percent both in August and a year ago. Sixty-five percent of investors paid in cash in September.