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.
Spring is normally the busiest time of year for real estate agents and brokers, and this year looks to be more of the same.
As February’s colder-than-average temperatures started to rise, the real estate market also began heating up. Sales of existing homes rose, as did home prices. In a housing industry forecast, secondary mortgage market player Freddie Mac said this could be the healthiest spring home-buying season since 2007.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor thinking about buying a home, here are three trends to watch for as the spring home-buying season comes into full bloom:
1. Home prices are on the rise.
Home prices have continued to climb upward. From early 2012 to early 2013, home prices rose by 8 percent—the most since mid-2006.
This increase in home prices is due, in part, to real estate investors dumping money into the housing sector. Investors right now account for a larger portion of buyers compared to recent years or to what is typical in a normal housing market.
But prices can’t go up forever—and certainly not at a rate of 8 percent per year. In fact, it’s likely that the housing recovery will be shaky, with prices fluctuating up and down. At the beginning of 2013, for example, not all real estate markets experienced the same housing sales upturn. Although home prices for all 20 cities tracked by the Case-Shiller home price index rose at the start of 2013, some cities—like New York, Chicago, and Boston—experienced only limited growth.
If investors suddenly drop out of the housing market, or if a large number of homeowners sell at the same time—thereby drastically increasing available inventory—housing prices could take a dive.
2. Housing inventory is limited.
Limited housing inventory (the homes that are available for sale at any single point in time) is what’s driving the housing recovery and contributing to the rise in home prices. March’s housing inventory—with over 1.5 million homes on the market—was down by over 15 percent from the year before, according to Realtor.com.
Tighter supply and increasing demand means buyers will pay higher prices for the homes they want. While home prices are rising, most homeowners can’t afford to sell until prices climb even higher. Due to the high cost of the commission and other closing costs and fees, it can cost up to 10 percent of the sales price to actually unload a property. This is especially true for the 13.8 million owners whose homes were worth less than the mortgage amount owed.
3. Interest rates remain low.
Interest rates remain at historic low levels, and that has propelled interest from buyers in all price ranges.
Since 1971, the 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate has dipped below 4 percent in only 15 months—and those were the 15 consecutive months ending February 2013, according to the most recent data available from the National Association of Realtors.
The national average commitment rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.53 percent in February, down from 3.89 percent the year before, according to Freddie Mac.
Despite a slight uptick in home prices, low mortgage interest rates are keeping homes affordable in many parts of the country. And while that’s great news for potential homeowners, these affordable homes are also driving more investors to the market. An investor-driven recovery is a shaky one, and if that’s what we’re experiencing, we could be in for a rude awakening.
Ilyce Glink is a best-selling author, real estate columnist, and web series host. She is the managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog and CEO of Think Glink Media. Follow her on Twitter: @Glink
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
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.