Another strong September in the Bay State

When looking ahead to 2013, it's easy to get excited about the direction the United States is heading in, as economic growth, a decline in joblessness and a stable housing market improve consumer confidence. Recent reports from major players in the U.S. market further emphasis recovery is picking up speed, and real estate all over the country is in demand.

Pending home sales lead to closings
Pending home sales changed little in September but remain well above a year ago, a new national report indicates. A nationwide index edged up 0.3 percent to 99.5 points in September 2012 from 99.2 points in August. The most recent metric is 14.5 percent above the 86.9 points measured in September 2011.

Pending home sales in the U.S. have risen for 17 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis, and the trend leads to a solid recovery in existing-home sales in 2012. What's more, housing affordability, including that of real estate in Boston, remained favorable throughout 2012, with mortgages staying near record lows.

Mortgage rates remain low
Freddie Mac published its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey which found that 30-year fix-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.41 percent for the week ending October 25, 2012 - up from last week when it averaged 3.37 percent. The 15-year FRM option averaged 2.72 percent, which is up from last week's 2.66 percent rate.

Completed existing-home sales in 2012 will total 4.6 million - up 9 percent from last year - and are projected to improve about 9 percent more to nearly 5.1 in the first few months of 2013. Even with lower housing inventories, buyers are eager to claim available properties.

The Bay State continues to thrive
In Massachusetts, two local organizations say sales of single-family homes remained healthy in September 2012, and prospective homebuyers may be encouraged to leave the sidelines and enter the market again. A Statewide real estate analysis company reports that sales were up nearly 3 percent in September 2012 when compared to a year ago. However, The Warren Group reports an 8 percent year-over-year uptick. Overall, September 2012 marks the 15th month of year-over-year increases in sales.

Buyers should be encouraged by the sustained growth in the real estate sector, and it might be time to take a leap into homeownership as markets improve in the first half of 2013.