With sales up 4.8% in December 2014 compared to December 2013, members of the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (“GLAR”) finished the year selling 14,486 homes compared to 14,775 in 2013 (down 2.0%). The year-to-date average and median prices were $180,200 (up 2.7%) and $147,000 (up 2.8%) respectively. The inventory of homes available for sale remained tight with approximately 11% fewer for sale than December 2013.
GLAR President Paula Colvin commented that, “members were actively helping homebuyers take advantage of low interest rates, which showed in the 25% increase in the number of contract signings in December 2014 versus the same month last year. Early data in January shows a positive trend continuing into the new year.”
At the national level, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors®, recently remarked that even in the face of tight underwriting standards, today’s low interest rates have contributed to an increase in the share of first-time homebuyers to 31% (up from 28% in 2013). Recently reduced FHA mortgage insurance premiums and a 3% down conventional loan program should facilitate continued first-time buyer activity in 2015. Realtor.com recently spotlighted the return to normal price appreciation and the decline of distressed sales as positive trends in 2014. The same report also highlighted the ongoing challenges of limited inventory and the modest recovery in homebuilding, with new home sales comprising 9% of the national market compared to the longer term trend of a 16% share.