Home sales so far in 2014 have left a fair amount to be desired. Relatively weak economic data, waning buyer interest and slow job growth have previously hampered the housing market, but new trends have emerged that have shined a more positive light on this segment.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales ticked up for the first time this year in April. These transactions - which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops - increased 1.3 percent from March to April. Even so, they remain 6.8 percent below the level experienced in April 2013. In addition to surging sales, the national housing inventory also rose, up 16.8 percent in April to more than 2 million units available for purchase.
"We'll continue to see a balancing act between housing inventory and price growth, which remains stronger than normal simply because there have not been enough sellers in many areas," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. "More inventory and increased new-home construction will help to foster healthy market conditions."
Moreover, NAR reported that the median existing-home price in April hit $201,700. That represents a more than 5 percent uptick on a yearly basis. For the first quarter of 2014, the median price increased 8.6 percent compared to the same time last year.
Residential construction growth also experienced
There is more good news out there for real estate professionals and interested buyers. A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development indicated that building permits and housing starts both increased in April.
For instance, new building permits were issued at a rate of more than 1 million for the month, the Census Bureau noted. This is 8 percent above the rate experienced in March, and 3.8 percent greater than levels felt during the same time in 2013. Housing starts also ticked up, more than 13 percent higher in April compared to the previous month.
With these positive trends, real estate professionals will need access to high-quality information. Thanks to CRS Data, this is a simpler task. Instead of heading to the local courthouse, get mortgage records, warranty deeds and much more online.