Four Signs That the Housing Market Is Recovering
Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
After years of drowning with underwater mortgages, American homeowners are starting to swim toward the shallow end as the housing market recovers. Rising home values and increased home equity are spelling relief for many people.
Here are four signs that the housing market is recovering:
1. Unemployment is falling.
In order to have a strong real estate market, you need a strong job market. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in February, its lowest level since December 2008. February saw 236,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy, which is more than was expected.
2. Home equity is increasing.
Almost two million homeowners moved into a positive home equity last year, according to a recent report from real estate website Zillow.com.
While 15.7 million people had underwater mortgages at the end of 2011, meaning that they owed more on their mortgage than their home was worth, that number dropped by 12 percent to 13.8 million people at the end of last year. Zillow forecasts another 7 percent of homeowners will also have positive home equity by the end of 2013, mostly due to increasing home values.
3. Home values are rising.
Home prices across the country climbed 9.7 percent in January from a year ago, the largest increase since April 2006 and the 11th straight month home prices have risen nationally, according to a new home price index report from CoreLogic. The report showed that all states, except for Delaware and Illinois, saw year-over-year price gains.
4. Home equity lines of credit are rising.
Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are also on the rise, with a 19 percent increase in originations at the end of 2012. However, this is considerably lower than the pre-recession peak in 2006, according to an Equifax report.
HELOCs can still be difficult to get, and lenders tightened their borrowing requirements after the financial crisis and housing market collapse when they lost billions of dollars worth of loans. While lending has increased, lenders are staying conservative. The average home equity line in October 2006 was more than $100,000. It was slightly below $90,000 in October 2012.
Lenders are giving loans to the people with the highest credit scores, so if you can’t get a loan right now, you might want to spend time improving your creditworthiness. People with lower credit scores might receive higher interest rates or not be able to take out a loan at all.
To see if the housing market is recovering in your neighborhood as spring comes into bloom, watch for more pending home sales and more homes increasing in value.
Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.