More Reasons to Be Thankful this Memorial Day: Real Estate's Recovery

Memorial DayIn honor of Memorial Day, we post today on real estate news worth being thankful for. April’s report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows some positive—even promising—numbers.

More People Can Afford to Buy in this Country

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun feels one of the biggest steps toward real estate’s recovery is real estate’s affordability. And affordability is way up. NAR's composite quarterly Housing Affordability Index* rose to a record high of 205.9 in first quarter, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power. This is the first time the quarterly index broke the 200 mark; recordkeeping began in 1970.

"It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions. A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices," says Yun.

Prices No Longer Plummeting

Nationally, low inventory and (for now, at least) fewer distressed properties on the market are helping home prices recover. The national median price of $177,400 represents a 10.1% increase in April, which is 3.1% higher than last year. As we’d expect, prices vary regionally, but in each section where data are recorded, prices trended up.

"This is the first time we've had back-to-back price increases from a year earlier since June and July of 2010 when the gains were less than one percent," Yun said. 

And More People Are Buying

The NAR report shows that existing home sales rose by 3.4%, an overall increase in sales of 10.0%, year-over-year.

America Making a Come Back

Memorial Day reminds us all how strong and resilient this country really is, and this latest NAR report shows real signs of that same strength. So let’s be thankful today, and celebrate!

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.