Home prices continued their upward trajectory in August on a month-over-month basis, even though values typically decline during this period.
Prices rose 5 percent in 19 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas last month, according to a report from Redfin. This development could be an indicator that the traditional housing market slowdown, which often occurs in the fall and winter, may not come in the latter half of 2012.
"While September now seems likely to be down nearly 20 percent from August's peak, we were surprised after Labor Day to see a relatively large number of new customers begin touring homes for the first time, which has given us reason to be optimistic about the rest of the fall and even the year ahead," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman.
Meanwhile, real estate data indicates 17 of the housing markets examined posted annual home price gains, the report said. On a local basis, Phoenix reported the largest increase of 31 percent, while Chicago saw prices fall 4 percent during the same period.
Despite the overall improvement, the national housing supply is still constrained, Kelman added. It's believed many homeowners are holding back from selling their properties in anticipation of further price appreciation during the course of 2013.
Mortgage rates provide affordable options
Although rising home prices are positive for current owners, it makes purchasing property more expensive for buyers. Luckily, mixed economic reports held fixed mortgage rates near all-time lows during the week ending September 13. This development could provide a number of options for prospective borrowers.
During this period, the average rate for a 30-year FRM was 3.55 percent, unchanged from a week earlier, according to a report from Freddie Mac. In addition, 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.85 percent, down slightly from 2.85 percent.
"Despite a lackluster August employment report, Treasury bond yields and mortgage rates were little changed this week with the financial markets speculating on further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve," said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft.
Last month, companies expanded payrolls by an estimated 96,000 positions, which caused the unemployment rates to fall to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent in July. Although this was an improvement, many industry experts anticipated more significant changes.