Housing market expected to continue improvements through 2014

As 2012 comes to a close, many housing experts are looking toward the upcoming year to gauge how the real estate market will do. Real estate professionals are trying to forecast whether the gains made in 2012 will continue or if the current steady growth will stall over the next twelve months.

Real estate experts are predicting that the housing recovery will continue in the upcoming year if there are no additional mortgage restrictions imposed on the market or if the predicted "fiscal cliff" is avoided. Existing-home sales, new-home sales and housing starts have all made significant gains in 2012 on a national, state and metro level.

"Real estate will be a hedge against inflation, with values rising 15 percent cumulatively over the next three years, also meaning there will be fewer upside-down homeowners," national real estate expert Lawrence Yun said. "Today is a perfect opportunity for moderate-income renters to become successful home owners, but st-ringent mortgage credit conditions are holding them back."

Real estate in Santa Clara features a strong housing market that reflected the positive gains the overall state of the industry experienced in California. According to real estate news and custom data provider DataQuick, there were approximately 39,254 new and resale houses and condos sold in California in October 2012 - up 15.4 percent from 34,011 in the previous month and 15.2 percent from the 34,087 sales in October 2011.

In California, the median price paid for a home was $285,000 - down 1.7 percent from September's median price of $287,000. However, the cost of a property was up 18.8 percent from $240,000 in a year-over-year comparison. The source claims that October marked the eighth consecutive month in which the state's median sales price rose in a year-over-year comparison.

In Santa Clara, the median price of a single family home was $640,832 as of November 9, 2012. According to ALTOS Research, this is significantly up from the median price paid at the beginning of 2012 at approximately $505,000. For homeowners looking to compare the price of a property by looking at the cost per square foot, the median hovered at about $425 at the same time period in the metro.

The strength of the California metro's housing market is partially due to the improving economy and growing number of middle class homebuyers. More properties priced affordably, but in the higher-end market than seen in previous months are being purchased at increased rates.

ALTOS Research claims that there were about 90 properties listed as for sale as of November 9, 2012, and the average home stayed on the market for about 63 days before a homebuyer completed the closing process.

In addition to the growing existing-home market, Santa Clara is seeing an increase in new construction rates, according to some real estate experts.

"The growth in new construction sounds very impressive, and it does mark a genuine recovery, but it must be kept in mind that the anticipated volume remains below long-term underlying demand," Yun said. "Unless building activity returns to normal levels in the next couple years, housing shortages could cause home prices to accelerate, and the movement of home prices will be closely tied to the level of housing starts."

As 2013 approaches, potential homebuyers and real estate experts are looking forward to see what the Santa Clara market will look like over the next twelve months.