If you watch the news or read the paper, you probably hear all kinds of things about the real estate market. But what’s really going on — and how does it affect you?
While there is a near-endless array of statistics that are designed to measure the health of the nation’s real estate market, these 10 numbers are some of the most important — and they’ll also come as a total surprise:
1. As of July 2012, the nation’s average home sale price was $189,500. That’s $20,000 more than the average selling price back on March 1st. Even better news? The average listing price is currently $194,900 — meaning that sellers are getting just about everything they’re asking for.
2. Despite higher selling prices, there are fewer homes on the market now than ever before. In fact, the 1.866 million houses, condos, townhomes, and co-ops that were on the market in July 2012 set a new record low. It’s also nearly 20% fewer properties than were on the market this time last year.
3. The nation’s highest foreclosure rates can be found amidst fun, sun, and sandy beaches. In Florida, 1 out of every 352 housing units has received a foreclosure notice. In California, 1 out of every 325 housing units is in foreclosure.
4. If you’re looking to get a great deal on a foreclosure property in North Dakota, good luck! As of July 2012, there were only 3 foreclosure properties in the entire state!
5. Two of the nation’s biggest lenders are giving homeowners more options when they get into financial trouble. Instead of automatically foreclosing on certain properties, Citigroup is now letting homeowners take advantage of a new program called the “Home Rental Program” — that lets homeowners become renters, instead of completely losing their homes. Bank of America started up a similar program back in March.
6. One of the toughest places to sell a home is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Despite its white beaches, sunny skies, and mild temperatures, the average home spends a whopping 143 days on the market here!
7. Buyers are getting more and more proactive in their search for a new home. According to a recent survey, 40% of home buyers found their home on the internet — instead of letting a realtor blindly drive them around town. This doesn’t mean that buyers are cutting out realtors altogether, though. Instead, they’re showing real estate agents what they want to see, instead of letting their agent find things for them.
8. According to a recent report done by Zillow, 5 out of the best 10 places to sell a home are in California. San Jose came in 1st on Zillow’s list. San Francisco was 2nd on the list. Sacramento was 4th, Riverside was 6th, and Los Angeles was 8th.
9. It’s not all good news for Californians, though. Many of California’s biggest cities are seeing fewer houses being put up for sale — including Oakland, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Jose, San Francisco, Stockton, Riverside, and Sacramento. As of July 2012, each of those cities had at least 35% fewer homes for sale than they did in July 2011. The biggest drop is in Oakland — where there are 59% fewer homes for sale than there were this time last year!
10. Despite certain upticks, mortgage rates show that the housing market is still very much in pain. The less buying and selling there is, the lower mortgage rates fall. As of July 2012, the average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage was right around 3%. For a 15-year mortgage, the rate is about 0.5% lower.