Some Healthy Signs:
This week has brought a few new signs that the worst may be over--or at least nearing an end. While we can't unconditionally state that everything is over and we're on the way to recovery, we had good news on a couple of fronts this week.
Jobs: A combination of improved reports on the jobs front point to the possible improvement in the economy in general and the housing market in particular. First, there were over 30,000 fewer first time filings for unemployment this week. Fewer layoffs mean more folks staying employed. Second, the national unemployment rate dropped to 9%, which, while still a lot higher than anyone wants to see, is the lowest it's been in over two and a half years. Again, more people employed means more folks who can legitimately consider buying a home. Third, although the figure was a bit lower than hoped for, there were over 50,000 new jobs created. As with the prior two items, more people working means more who can look at a house and legitimately think about buying it.
Interest Rates: Rates have risen to just over 5% for 30 year fixed loans, a pretty good jump over the past few weeks. However, while this is the highest they've been for quite awhile, it's still very cheap money and a great opportunity to give serious thought to purchasing a home. Fed Chairman Bernanke has also reiterated his plans to not raise rates until we have a good strong recovery in the jobs area, something that even the biggest optimists feel is at least 9-12 months away.
Little Signs: This one is my own personal indicator that things may be getting better. It's kind of like the first robin in spring or, and only you folks who've lived in the colder regions of the country can relate to this, the first crocus pushing up through the snow. When Realtors begin catering open houses, it's my experience that they feel things are getting economically better. Well, this past week, I personally saw a couple of agents catering who haven't done so for awhile. Laugh, but we all have our own indicators that go along with what the "experts" and economists tell us.
So my message is that if you're thinking of buying or selling, It's looking like a great time to get moving!
More next week!