The Pending Home Sales Index, an index based upone properties under contract for sale in April rose almost seven percent to 90.3 from March says the NAR.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said, “Buyers are responding to very favorable market conditions. Housing affordability conditions have been at historic highs, but now the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit is beginning to impact the market,” he said. “Since first-time buyers must finalize their purchase by November 30 to get the credit, we expect greater activity in the months ahead, and that should spark more sales by repeat buyers.”
NAR President Charles McMillan said that there are numerous buyer assistance programs at this time to interested home buyers and especially to first time home buyers. “Some states are offering bridge loans that allow first-time buyers to use the tax credit for down payment and closing costs, but there are many other local government and nonprofit programs available to buyers, depending on location,” he said.
“Just last week, HUD announced that qualifying buyers can use the tax credit for closing costs on FHA loans, to buy down the interest rate or make a larger down payment. Buyers who are wondering about their options should contact a REALTOR, who can advise consumers on the housing assistance programs and resources available in a given area,” according to Yun.
NAR’s Housing Affordability Index is still in record territory. According to the NAR, “The affordability index rose to 174.8 in April from an upwardly revised 171.9 in March, which makes it the second-highest monthly reading on record after peaking at 176.9 in January of this year. The HAI is a broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, which examines the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income.
A median-income family, earning $60,900, could afford a home costing $296,800 in April with a 20 percent down payment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest. Affordability conditions for first-time buyers with the same income and small down payments are roughly 80 percent of that amount. The affordable price was well above the median existing single-family home price in April, which was $169,800.”
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