Affordable conditions help drive up home sales

Since the Great Recession, real estate professionals have had to cope with a variety of difficult housing market conditions, from a lack of homes for sale to fewer buyers and higher prices. This has made it tougher to buy and sell real estate at times, but recent changes are showing that a brighter future is on the horizon.

Since the Great Recession, real estate professionals have had to cope with a variety of difficult housing market conditions, from a lack of homes for sale to fewer buyers and higher prices. This has made it tougher to buy and sell real estate at times, but recent changes are showing that a brighter future is on the horizon.

For example, the National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales have increased in four out of the past five months. Pending sales are based on contract signings, and serve as a look into what is coming in the market. NAR's Pending Home Sales Index ticked up 3.3 percent from June to July to 105.9, where level 100 is considered average.

"Interest rates are lower than they were a year ago, price growth continues to moderate and total housing inventory is at its highest level since August [2012]," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. "The increase in the number of new and existing homes for sale is creating less competition and is giving prospective buyers more time to review their options before submitting an offer."

Out of the four major regions in the U.S., only the Midwest's PHSI declined slightly. The Northeast, South and West all climbed.

Interest in home flipping down
A few years back, there was a wealth of cheap properties on the market. That allowed investors to buy them up, fix them up and sell them quickly for a profit. This interest in home flipping - while once high - has begun to decline.

According to RealtyTrac, there were only 31,000 flipped single-family homes in the second quarter of 2014. That accounts for 4.6 percent of all single-family home sales, compared to 5.9 percent during the first three months of this year. On a per flip basis, investors turned an average profit of $46,000.

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