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Home Prices Increase, But More Slowly, in June, While Pending Home Sales Decline

Homeowners have been through a roller coaster that rivals any mere thrill ride over the past decade. The curves and slopes represented by single family home prices have at one time or another over the years led to temporary riches, longer term losses, and more familiarity with terms like “under water”, “upside down”, and other financial slang than most homeowners would prefer. As reported by the S&P/Case-Shiller gauge, U.S. home prices increased by 2.2% in June. That’s a healthy increase, but in May, home prices increased an average of 2.5% nationwide.

These results aren’t uniform when you look inside the numbers. According to an analysis of the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller index by marketwatch.com, in six cities, prices rose faster in June than they did in May. In May 10 cities had posted faster monthly growth.

A longer term view shows more good news for home sellers when reviewed on an annual basis. Annual home-price growth hit 12.1% in June, down from 12.2% in May, when prices hit the fastest year-over-year pace since 2006.
Ruth Mantell, the author of the Cash-Shiller Index analysis, also reports on pending home sales on marketwatch.com. According to her article, “Led by drops in most of the U.S., sales contracts on homes fell 1.3% in July, a second month of declines, as mortgage rates continued to rise, according to data released Wednesday. Despite the recent drop, the pending-home sales gauge in July was up 6.7% from the year-earlier period, according to the National Association of Realtors. By region, pending home sales in July fell 6.5% in the Northeast, 4.9% in the West and 1% in the Midwest. Meanwhile, pending sales rose 2.6% in the South. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed. Sales are typically finalized within one or two months of signing.”

Ideas for Action

If you are in the market to buy a home, rising interest rates may temper price increases in homes in your price range.

The articles and the surveys that the articles are based upon represent aggregate information that can be helpful in identifying trends, but probably has little direct correlation on individual markets like the one where you live. A realtor friend points out that the number of foreclosures and short sales in an area greatly affect the comparable market value of homes for sale in that area.

Spend time finding the most reputable realtor, and most reputable lender, that you can. Insist that they provide you with reviews and references if you can’t find reviews on the web. When you buy a home, you are making an enormous financial commitment that will have long term repercussions on your financial life. Ensuring that you are well represented and advised in your home buying and selling transactions, just as you ensured that you are well represented legally by engaging the Law Offices of James H. MaGee as your attorney, is worth the time and effort to identify reputable real estate and loan servicing agents in order to achieve the quality, satisfactory results that you should expect.