Real Estate Market – Pending Home Sales Surge

As the demand for new homes for sale in Birmingham and surrounding communities continues to grow, we look back over the previous months as to the effectiveness of programs like the home buy tax credit have been on the industry. Below is an article by on the current conditions of the regional and national real estate markets:

Pending Home Sales Surge Continuing (U.S.)

Pending home sales have risen for three consecutive months, reflecting the broad impact of the home buyer tax credit and favorable housing affordability conditions, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, rose 6.0 percent to 110.9 based on contracts signed in April, from an upwardly revised 104.6 in March, and is 22.4 percent higher than April 2009 when it was 90.6. That follows gains of 7.1 percent in March and 8.3 percent in February.

Pending home sales are at the highest level since last October when the index reached 112.4 and first-time buyers were rushing to beat the initial deadline for the tax credit. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said this second round of surging sales from the tax credit extension looks as strong as the original tax credit. “There were concerns that only a small pool of buyers were left to take advantage of the tax credit extension. But evidently the tax stimulus, combined with improved consumer confidence and low mortgage interest rates, are contributing to surging sales,” he said. “The housing market has to get back on its own feet and now appears to be in a good position to return to sustainable levels even without government stimulus, provided the economy continues to add jobs.” NAR expects a net of 1 million additional jobs in the second half of this year and about 2 million in 2011.

“The home buyer tax credit brought close to 1 million additional buyers into the market, which is now helping the trade-up market and has significantly improved the inventory situation. This stabilized home prices more quickly and has preserved about $900 billion in home equity; in turn, that is keeping additional households from going underwater and risking foreclosure,” Yun said.

The PHSI in the Northeast jumped 29.5 percent to 97.9 in April and is 24.5 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 4.1 percent to 104.2 and is 17.9 percent above April 2009. Pending home sales in the South slipped 0.6 percent to an index of 123.9, but is 31.3 percent higher than a year ago. In the West the index rose 7.5 percent to 107.9 and is 12.0 percent higher than April 2009.

“A big concern surfacing recently is insufficient time to close the deal at the settlement table. Under normal circumstances, two months would be enough time from contract signing to settlement date,” Yun said. “However, the recent housing cycle has brought long delays related to the short sales approval process by banks, and from ongoing appraisal issues. There could be a sizable number of homebuyers who responded to tax credit incentives, but may encounter problems meeting the settlement deadline by June 30.” Because of these market challenges, NAR has asked Congress to provide flexibility on the deadline for closing.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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Relocating to Birmingham, The Jewel of the South

For anyone looking to purchase one of the many new homes for sale in Birmingham, either because of a full relocation or even just a timely upgrade by a current resident, Birmingham Alabama is one of the hidden secrets of the southern United States that has more than just a few reasons of why anyone would be proud to call the city ‘Home’. At times overshadowed by Atlanta, New Orleans and Charleston, it has many things to offer those looking for a big city with a small town feel. Birmingham is equally attractive for those looking to relocate to Alabama as well as those simply looking to purchase a new home in the area.

Deep in the heart of Southern Charm, 1.2 million people call the Birmingham metropolitan area home. With draws such as the Birmingham Museum of Art, the University of Alabama, the Alabama Ballet and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the city has a wide range of cultural attractions and activities. Although there are no major professional sports franchises in the city, many follow and support the University of Alabama’s sports programs. Also nearby, the Talladega Superspeedway offers everything racing fans could dream about.

Located 5 hours by car from Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico, 2.5 hours from Atlanta, 3 hours from Nashville, 4 from Memphis, and 5 hours from New Orleans it is easy to see how centrally located Birmingham is in this historic region of the nation. Access to virtually unlimited social and recreational activities, Birmingham has something for both the young and old . Fishing the area’s many lakes and rivers is a popular recreational activity for the city’s residents while its proximity to the Gulf provides access to a wide range of motorized water sports and sailing activities as well.

With Alabama’s ideal weather it is long been known as a haven for golf aficionados. Home to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Alabama has 468 holes of championship level golf scattered across eleven golf resorts across the state including 2 near Birmingham. Many long time golfers have recognized Alabama as a serious golfing state and have relocated here after retirement.

For those looking for the amenities of a large city, or simply those who not want to be located right in the city center, Birmingham and its surrounding communities have something to offer everyone. The areas surrounding Birmingham includes such attractive communities as Mt. Laurel, Pelham, Chelsea, McCalla, and Mountain Brook. These are varying communities of new homes at reasonable prices, generally starting from $140k and on up. Of course Thornton Homes is the premiere builder in these communities, and we offer a wide range of models in various settings around Birmingham to suit the needs of both first time home buyers to the area as well as long time residents looking to upgrade.

With a low cost of living, sporting and cultural events, world-class golf, central location, a long and inspiring history and the beautiful Alabama weather, Birmingham, Alabama is a great place to live. Visit our Communities page or contact us to find the perfect new home for you.

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