By Pat Maurer
“The housing market, like the rest of the economy, is on a gradual recovery path,” said Michael Hanson, a former Federal Reserve economist now working for Bank of America Corp. in New York. “In the next months, we’re going to see the spring market come to life.”
A Bloomberg.com article by Kathleen Howley March 31 said, “This year has been sluggish for mortgage lenders. Home sales declined in February to the lowest level since mid-2012, according to the National Association of Realtors. The number of contracts signed with the intention of purchasing properties fell that month to the lowest since 2011, according to the Realtors’ group. While the numbers are seasonally adjusted, they can be influenced by unexpected events such as unusual weather and the unusually hard winter of 2014 kept many at home that normally would have been house shopping.”
“Most of the sales blocked by bad weather will happen in the next few months, said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist for Barclays PLC in New York.” Housing forecasters Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict 2014 home sales will be intense.
Local bankers are getting ready for it.
Rod Loomis, Community President of Chemical Bank in Clare agrees. “Mortgage rates are great and new construction loans have special promotional pricing right now,” He said “It is also going to be a great time for home improvement,” he added. “Home improvement loans and home equity loans are really attractive right now. This is a good spring for anyone considering a new home, a remodel or a home improvement project. It is a great time to see the bank – the rates are very good for spring. We are really excited about it.”
Sales of existing homes probably will rise to 5.14 million in 2014, up from last year’s 5.07 million, according to the mortgage bankers group. Mortgage lending for purchases probably will total $661 billion, near last year’s $652 billion, the trade group said. “We’ve seen sales take a hit so far, lagging where they usually are, but we think the next few months will make up for it,” Macki said. “The March through June period is when more than half of U.S. home sales take place. The market’s getting a late start this year because so much of the country has been in the grips of bad weather,” he added.
It looks like this spring is going to be a good time to sell your home. Roger Williams, Mortgage Originator for the
Northern Division of Isabella Bank, said, “According to many conversations that I have had with realtors, the amount of properties for sale or listed is down while the number of potential buyers has increased over the past six to eight months. The lack of available homes has shifted some potential buyers to consider constructing their dream home. Many of the contractors that have made it through the past few years are seeing an increase of work being lined up for this spring and summer. Rates for construction loans are still very good at not only at Isabella Bank, but at all of our Community Financial Institutions.”
He added, “Grant funds from various government agencies are either being released or remain available for first-time home buyers. Rural Development loans are a viable and affordable way to purchase a home with little to no money down.”