Navigating the housing market can be a complicated task, and real estate professionals have the tough job of properly advising their clients while conditions are constantly moving up and down.
Recently, the overall real estate environment has been much improved, with increased inventory, low mortgage rates and a higher number of sales. These positive conditions are expected to remain in the future of the market, even as fluctuations continue. In addition, recent reports from both the National Association of Realtors and RealtyTrac detailed several noteworthy trends currently impacting the industry.
Pending home sales tick down
Over the last few months, home sales have steadily increased across the country. However, that has recently changed with pending transactions - a statistic based on contract signings - according to NAR.
The organization's Pending Home Sales Index decreased 1.1 percent in June on a monthly basis and remains 7.3 percent below the level reported one year ago. Even so, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, explained in a statement that despite problems in the market sales are expected to increase in the second half of 2014.
"Activity is notably higher than earlier this year as prices have moderated and inventory levels have improved," said Yun. "However, supply shortages still exist in parts of the country, wages are flat, and tight credit conditions are deterring a higher number of potential buyers from fully taking advantage of lower interest rates."
While sales may be shifting over the coming months, real estate professionals can remain prepared by gaining as much information as possible. With CRS Data, it is easier than ever before to acquire real estate property records, warranty deeds and much more.
Fewer homeowners seriously underwater
While sales may be slipping, there is other good news in the segment - the number of current homeowners seriously underwater has decreased. According to RealtyTrac, only 9.1 million American homeowners are facing this dire financial situation. The percentage of underwater properties ticked down from 17.4 percent during the first quarter to 17.2 percent in the second.
Furthermore, the states with the most homes seriously underwater over the past three months were Nevada, Florida, Illinois and Rhode Island, RealtyTrac noted. However, roughly 8.8 million homes are about to return to positive equity.
"Home price appreciation has slowed in the last few months in many of the markets with the most underwater homes, slowing the pace at which homeowners are recovering equity lost during the Great Recession," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "For instance home price appreciation in California was at 16 percent in May 2014 compared to a high of 31 percent in July and August of 2013."