While home sales in September were down slightly from a relatively strong month in August, they were up from a year ago, giving encouraging signs of a strengthening market and potential for stabilizing, if not appreciating, home prices. These signs include an increasing demand, shown by the number of people shopping for homes, and the decreasing inventory of homes for sale, in conjunction with some of the lowest levels of new housing construction since the 1960s when the Beatles first came to the United States.
Of the 3.48 million homes sold in September, 32% were first-time home buyers. With more and more people entering the market, the persisting obstacle for most is still the restrictive lending environment. In a
plea to banks and policy makers, NAR President Ron Phipps said, “We need to remove the roadblocks to a housing recovery—not place more obstacles in the way of financially qualified buyers.”
With an increasing demand and shrinking inventory, it is hoped that banks will begin to see the market potential and start to lend to otherwise creditworthy home shoppers, opening the road to a more rapid recovery. While consumer confidence still remains at all-time lows, retail spending increased 1.1% last month, a positive sign of growth fueled by the approaching holiday season, which could propel the U.S. into a promising new year.
In Ann Arbor, we are experiencing shrinking inventory, 4 percent price appreciation through the third quarter. We will see what the year end brings, but I bet it will be a total price increase of at least one percent like we had last
year. We will post the Ann Arbor Real Estate Market Update this week.
Stay tuned for our First Time Home Buyer Round Tables in January, February and March to be help at Liberty Title in Ann Arbor on Packard Rd.