Recent news suggests that the housing market might be moving in the right direction. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales rose 3.4 percent in April compared to March and were 10 percent higher than a year ago.
The inventory of homes for sale increased 9.5 percent at the end of April to a 6.6-month supply, up from a 6.2-month supply in March. A year ago, there was a 9.1-month supply of inventory solidly in a buyer's market range. Nationally, homes listed for sale in April were 20.6 percent below a year ago, approaching a balanced market that gives neither buyer nor seller a decided advantage.
The national median home price jumped 10.1 percent in April from a year ago, following a 3.1 annual improvement in March. This is the first time we've had back-to-back median home price increases since June and July of 2010. Median home sale and price improvements were seen across all regions.
the housing recovery is under way. He expects modest price gains nationally in the 1 to 2 percent range this year, "with stronger improvement in 2013.
Predicted at the end of last year that inventory would pick up in 2012 as homeowners who have been waiting for a better time to sell would decide to wait no longer. The recent good news has many prospective sellers giving this sales strategy a second thought. Would they be better off financially if they waited a couple of years for a stronger rebound and possibly a higher sale price?
HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Keep in mind that two months of improved home sales and median price increases does not indicate a trend. We need to see many more months of improvements before we can say with confidence that the tide has turned and the housing market is on course for a solid, sustainable recovery.
There is still a lot of uncertainty. Consumers are less optimistic about current business and labor conditions and that the "pace of economic growth in the months ahead may moderate." This could interrupt a solid recovery.
You need to examine the value of your home in the context of your local area to determine if it is worth more, the same or less than it was last year.
No one knows how long this frenzied market in some areas will last. Is it a mini-bubble market that you should take advantage of now? Or is there solid economic growth in the area that can sustain a housing recovery for years to come?
THE CLOSING: Do your due diligence carefully before making a decision about whether to sell now or wait.