Despite a freezing winter and a slow start to the spring homebuying season, there are still bright spots in the economy.
This week provided some good tidbits for housing, with mortgage applications rising and record traffic for online real estate sites.
So here are a few shining gems for the housing market in 2014.
1. Record breaking online real estate site traffic
At least people are looking to buy homes.
Trulia consumer traffic accelerated to a new high and experienced more than 51 million unique visitors using the site in May.
“Trulia’s consumer audience is at an all-time high, which is a good indicator of a strong housing market heading into the summer,” said Pete Flint. “The release of our new mobile capabilities this spring, coupled with our national marketing campaign and $50,000 Home Give Away Sweepstakes, is delivering record traffic and a re-acceleration of growth heading into the peak real estate season.”
On the other side, Zillow is also trending higher each month, reaching over 81 million visitors, up from 79 million in April and 70 million at the start of the year in January.
And their stocks are reaping the reward, with Trulia’s stock up 20.12% year-to-date and Zillow’s up 51.83% YTD.
2. Mortgage rates at yearly lows
According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, although rates slightly edged higher for the week ended June 12, they are still low for the year.
The 30-year, fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.20%, up from 4.14% last week and 3.98% a year ago.
To put this rate into perspective, Bankrate said, “As 2013 came to a close, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.69%. At that time, a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,036.07.”
“After drifting lower for much of the first five months of 2014, the average rate is now 4.32%, and the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $994.45, a savings of nearly $42 per month for anyone that waited,” Bankrate added.
3. Mortgage applications unexpectedly jumped
After weeks of steady declines and levels well below originations the same time last year, mortgage applications jumped a surprising 10.3% from one week earlier, according to data for the week ending June 6 from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
“The jump in applications shows folks are taking notice of rates near six-month lows,” said Quicken Loans vice president Bill Banfield.
“The jump in purchase applications is especially good to see, as homeowners may finally be getting comfortable putting their home on the market with the level of inventory they see around them,” Banfield added.