Mortgage Rates Drop Again; Existing Home Sales And Prices Climb

As we head into the busy spring home-selling season, homebuyers will be happy to know that mortgage rates are back on the decline. The same can’t be said of home prices, though, which continue to rise. Freddie Mac’s just-released weekly survey of lenders shows little change in the following average rates for the most popular home loan terms:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.62% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending Feb. 18, 2016.  A year ago, the rate averaged 3.80%.

15-year fixed rates averaged 2.93% with an average 0.5 point. The same term priced at 3.07% a year ago.

5-year adjustable-rate mortgages priced at 2.79% with an average 0.5 point. Last year at this time, the same ARM averaged 2.99%.

“Since the beginning of 2016, 30-year rates have fallen almost 40 basis points, helping housing markets sustain their momentum into this year.” Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a release.

In the meantime, rising home prices put a damper on home loan activity, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly report. Overall, mortgage loan applications dropped 4.3% from one week earlier, with an 8% slip in refis in contrast to previous weeks of gains. Purchase applications were down 4%, but are still 27% higher than the same week one year ago.

Existing-home sales, home prices climb.

A shortage of housing inventory is pushing home prices and sales to new heights, but the upward climb isn’t necessarily a good thing for homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales in January climbed slightly — 0.4% — to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million. That’s the highest annual rate since July 2015. While that’s good news for the market, homebuyers are feeling the pressure of inventory shortages, which helped push the median existing-home price up to $213,800, an 8.2% increase over January 2015.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says that the housing market is off to a strong start this year, but a slowdown in new-home construction, as well as a lack of existing homes for sale in many markets, has the potential to keep pushing prices higher.

“The spring buying season is right around the corner, and current supply levels aren’t even close to what’s needed to accommodate the subsequent growth in housing demand,” Yun said in a release. “Home prices ascending near or above double-digit appreciation aren’t healthy — especially considering the fact that household income and wages are barely rising.”

To complicate things a bit more, new-home sales fell 9.2% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. A 32.1% drop in new sales in the West (where homes are typically more expensive) was the driving force behind the plunge, followed closely by losses in the Midwest.

With a stall in new housing starts during these cold winter months, homebuyers might find it difficult to get into a newly built home or resale without some fierce competition. And despite mortgage rates staying below 4%, more homebuyers might be priced out of the market as housing prices continue to rise.

*This article originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Ridgefield Elementary Schools Best In Connecticut

All six of Ridgefield’s elementary schools made’s Top 100 list for 2016. The online review website just released the list ranking the best elementary schools throughout the nation, as well as the state of Connecticut, with all of Ridgefield’s elementary schools – as well as many of our neighboring town’s schools – considered among the best on both lists.

In Connecticut, Ridgefield schools ranked in the top 31 schools in the state, with Barlow Mountain Elementary School leading the pack at number 23. The remaining schools ranked in order are:

23. Barlow Mountain Elementary School, Ridgefield
25. Ridgebury Elementary School, Ridgefield
27. Veterans Park Elementary School, Ridgefield
28. Scotland Elementary School, Ridgefield
29. Branchville Elementary School, Ridgefield
31. Farmingville Elementary School, Ridgefield

Even more impressive, Ridgefield’s elementary schools ranked unbelievably high nationally. The overall ranking was determined by reviewing state test scores, student-teacher ratio, student diversity, teacher quality, and the overall quality of the school district. When compared to 48,819 other schools throughout the country, Ridgefield elementary schools placed as follows:

145. Barlow Mountain Elementary School, Ridgefield
172. Ridgebury Elementary School, Ridgefield
212. Veterans Park Elementary School, Ridgefield
216. Scotland Elementary School, Ridgefield
237. Branchville Elementary School, Ridgefield
247. Farmingville Elementary School, Ridgefield

We have a lot to be proud of in our fabulous town, and our schools are a reflection of the commitment of the town, teachers, parents and students to provide a positive and engaging learning environment. If you already live here, congratulations on choosing one of the best towns in Connecticut to live in! If you’re thinking of moving here, you won’t be disappointed!

Call/text me at 203-856-5534 or email to find out more about Ridgefield and how meter can help you move to the #1 small town in Connecticut.

Ridgefield Market Report For January 2016

January 2016 was a solid month for Ridgefield real estate, with the median sales price staying relatively constant and the number of properties going under contract increasing 83% over January last year. Inventory is down, and homes are spending less days on average on the market than the same time last year.

The median sales price for January 2016 was $585,000, which represents a decrease of 5.6% when compared to January 2015. The number of closed sales was also down from 18 in 2015 to 14 during January this year.

Despite the fact that the number of closed sales was down, the number of properties that entered escrow this month rose by 83% with 33 properties going under contract compared to 18 in January last year.

The average days on market was down to only 100 days this month – a decrease of 18.7%. Last year, a house spent an average of 123 days on the market before selling. The months of supply of inventory has also decreased from 15.9 months in 2015 to only 8.5 months in January this year.

There was a small decrease in the number of homes listed for sale in Ridgefield this month compared to January 2015. 42 homes were listed new, compared to 49 last year, representing a decrease of 14.3%

For a full graphical analysis of Ridgefield’s January 2016 real estate market,click here. You can also take advantage of my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth.

January 2016 price snapshot

* All data taken from Greater Fairfield County CMLS as of 01/31/16