As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, June 2012.
Although this year likely will continue to be difficult for many, improved employment figures, historically low mortgage interest rates and low home prices are aligning to help the country slowly emerge from the housing market crisis. Fannie Mae economists predict that home sales will increase between 2 percent and 5 percent this year, evidence that U.S. consumers are beginning to regain confidence and return to the marketplace.
There are other signs pointing toward recovery, as well. According to Zillow, home values increased 0.5 percent from this past February to March, the largest monthly increase since 2006. The Wall Street Journal reports that stocks of homebuilders are trading 30 percent higher since the end of this past third quarter, and large hedge funds are making more housing-related investments.
The reality is that some markets are simply recovering better and quicker than others. There is a wide cross- section of cities that are recovering from the real estate crash, with some of the strongest markets in Kansas and even West Virginia.
In fact, West Virginia, a state that has historically suffered from hard times for generations, has three of the top 10 markets across the nation because of its affordable housing, according to Housing Predictor. Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota and Wyoming also land multiple cities on Housing Predictor’s best markets of 2012, and all are expected to post home-price appreciations of 2.5 percent or more this year.
This past March, the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index indicated that 99 housing markets in 33 states have shown measurable improvement. The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
Although the signs point toward recovery for housing, nationwide mortgage lender Churchill Mortgage Corp. decided to find out how consumers feel about the market. The lender recently conducted a survey of homeowners who purchased homes in 2009 and 2010, asking various questions about their purchases. Here’s what the survey revealed about market sentiment from today’s homebuyers.
More happy consumers
According to survey respondents, it’s not just real estate professionals and analysts who are feeling good about the current real estate market. Actual homebuyers are more confident about the market and their recent investments. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed believe now is a great time to buy because of low prices, good interest rates and prime investment opportunities.
The survey found that more than 86 percent of respondents were happy with their purchase. The majority of reasons centered around stability in owning versus renting, interest rates or an interest in achieving a more community-oriented lifestyle.
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