I read this in the December 23 Times paper. It's a bit of information that lets stalling investors like me and any others know that "WE" had better "GET IT DONE" or like Dean said "WE" will miss our window of opportunity. "Home sales head back to pre-ression levels".
The cold weather is not chilling homebuyers, with existing single-family home sales in Northwest Indiana powering to a year-over-year 48% increase during November, according to figures from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. Federal homebuyer tax credits and historically low interest rates continued to drive sales in November and into this month, according to local sales agents. "Usually, December is dead", said Valarie Kubacki, a Realtor with Century 21 Pace Estates, in Valparaiso. "But so far this month, it has been just unbelievable". In the five counties served by the association, 710 homes were sold in November, as compared to 479 in November 2008. The association serves Lake, Porter, Laporte, Jasper and Newton counties. Nationally, home sales also powered to year-over-year gains in November, with 42% more single-family homes sold this November as compared to last, according to the National Association of Realtors. "This clearly is a rush of first-time buyers not wanting to miss out on the tax credit, but there are many more potential buyers who can enter the market in the months ahead," said Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors' chief economist. The average interest rate on a 30 year conventional mortgage dropped to 4.88% in November from 4.95% the month before, according to Freddie Mac, which buys mortgages from lenders and repackages them as securities. The November figure is the second lowest on record. Congress last month extended the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit, passed as part of the federal stimulus package this spring. It also added a $6,500 homebuyer tax credit for existing homebuyers looking to buy a new home. Kubacki said sales are strongest in the under-$200,000 price range, where the homebuyer credits offer the greatest bang for the buck. The median selling price in the five county ares was $125,000 in November, up just 4% over one year ago, according to Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors figure. The new incentives for homebuying are giving relief to sales agents, who have suffered through one of the worst housing slumps in decades. In 31 years in the business, Whitting Realtor Albert Minniti said he has never seen a downturn as severe as the one that began in 2007. He has been telling prospective buyers about both the federal tax credit and the city of Hammond's Homebound program, which provides prospective buyers with up to $2,500 to purchase an existing home. When I explain all that to people, it often clinches the deal," Minniti said. Existing home sales are starting to approach levels not seen since the middle of the decade, when the housing boom was at its height. The 575 sold in Lake and Porter counties last month compares to 617 slod in November 2006 and 651 sold in November 2005, according to Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors figures. Sales of all single-family homes nationwide were their strongest since February 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors. Inventories of unsold homes also have declined, which should start to stabilize prices, according to association figures. There was just a 6.5 month supply of homes available nationwide in November, which was the lowest inventory since April 2006.