April 17th, 2014
While the housing market still continues to feel the effects of its collapse in 2008, this spring season is likely to see a healthy amount of activity as conditions continue to ripen for buyers.
According to a recent report from Realtor.com, a real estate website operated by Move, Inc., a number of trends are helping homebuyers this spring. The data showed that there have been gains in both inventory and days on the market in March compared to a year ago.
Realtor.com's National Housing Trend Report for March 2014 revealed that the number of homes for sale in March hit 1.84 million units, marking a 9.5 percent increase from a year ago. As low levels of inventory have been plaguing the market for quite some time, this trend is an especially welcome one for buyers this spring season.
The report also showed that the median list price was $199,900 in March, up 5.5 percent from the previous year. In addition, the median age of inventory was 102 days, up 22.9 percent on a year-over-year comparison. The report noted that each of these trends points to a more balanced housing market.
"Bidding wars in many markets last year frequently elevated offer prices beyond the reach of first-time buyers who could scarcely save for the down payment," said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move. "While inventory is still low, the continuing annual lift in the number of homes on the market that we've seen over the first months of 2014 is an indicator that buying conditions this year may be notably improved from the frenzied pace of last spring."
Housing starts also picked up
One reason inventory levels have returned to more historic norms is through the construction of new homes, which was up in March.
The latest residential construction statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed that housing starts rose in March, representing one more encouraging trend for today's homebuyers. According to the report, housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 units, marking a 2.8 percent increase compared to the month before.
"Housing starts picked up in March but not as much as expected," said an analyst with Econoday. "However, strength was in the single-family component while it was expected to be in the multifamily component. So, the expectations shortage really is not bad. Overall, the headline number was below expectations but the fact that moderate strength was in the single-family component is encouraging."
As buyers are in a good position to make a purchase this spring, they are encouraged to be as adamant with shopping for homeowners insurance as they are with choosing a home. The ideal way to shop for coverage is take advantage of tools which compare the prices and coverage of multiple insurance providers. Finding a low rate has never been easier with this method.