Is now the time to buy a home in Philadelphia? Summer is here, “For Sale” signs are popping up throughout the Delaware Valley and local open house attendance is increasing. Nationally, trends are also encouraging. According to Fannie Mae’s May 2013 National Housing Survey, 76% of respondents believe now is a good time to buy a house, the highest rate recorded since the monthly survey began in June 2010. In addition, it was noted that 55% of Americans expect housing prices to climb in the next year, an increase from only 35% in May of 2012.
After a long period of stagnation, thirty-year fixed mortgage rates have begun to creep upwards, about three-quarters of a point in the last several weeks, according to Bankrate.com, and 43% of the national housing survey respondents expect rates to go up even further in the next twelve months. This sentiment has led to brisk activity in the real estate market, and frequent multiple bid situations on highly-desired, appropriately-priced homes in the Philadelphia area.
On the state level, The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors also conducted a recent survey of 171 members. Similar to the national housing survey, the results indicated a high level of optimism in the real estate market. According to the Pennsylvania’s real estate industry leaders, 64% believe sales prices will increase in the next six months, while only 2% of respondents indicated that they believe the market will get “somewhat worse” or “much worse.”
Locally, Dana Santangelo, owner of Germantown Title Company in Norristown, Pennsylvania, has seen shifts in the types of buyers at settlement. According to Ms. Santangelo, “Investors typically don’t want to pay market price, and as home values increase, we are seeing more first-time buyers. Also, we are seeing more move-up buyers, who are now more confident in their jobs and the economy, and are ready to purchase a two-story colonial with the nice-sized backyard.”
The number of overall transactions at Germantown Title has remained steady since last year, with new purchases making up for the decrease in closings. “Although rates are still exceptionally low, anyone who wants to, or has been able to refinance has probably done so by now,” notes Ms. Santangelo.
The overall picture is encouraging, taking into account the national and state home surveys, along with Philadelphia’s busy real estate market. Now may be the time to step up your search and seriously consider purchasing a home.