Real Estate - Ask Esther: Is the market getting better?

Real Estate Advice Columnist Esther Prosser

Dear Esther,

I’ve been working at getting my home ready to sell for a year, waiting until home prices go up so I can at least pay off my mortgage when I sell. The news reports indicate home sales are improving.

Do you see it getting better?

Signed,

Waiting and Wondering.

Dear Waiting and Wondering,

Two important numbers give mixed reviews. The first is the number of homes presently for sale, called “inventory.” When comparing inventory nationally from 2011 to 2012, there is almost a twenty percent reduction in the number of homes on the market (according to realtor.com). Less supply creates more demand and more demand increases prices in time.

The second important indicator of an improved market is whether there is an increase in the median sales price. Are homes selling for more? The answer to date is no. Homes are selling more quickly but what sellers are getting for their homes is about the same. According to Trend MLS, sales data in the Chester/Berks County region shows similar trends.

There is some optimism. Statements such as, “Most economists are confident that the worst of home value declines are in the past “(Meg Handley in US News & World Report) are common place. There are lingering concerns about the job market, economic turmoil abroad and the upcoming elections which are creating uncertainty. However, most will agree that homes sales have bottomed out.

Whether you can get what you owe on your home is a good question in this climate. I recommend finding a good agent to help you determine if your mortgage can be paid off when you sell. On a positive note, with prices and interest rates low, buying another home should be lots of fun!

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact me, Esther Prosser, PO Box 20, Elverson, PA 19520, esther@stoltzfus.com, 484.269.7153, www.estherprosser.com.

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