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Realtor organization reports home sales numbers falling

The National Association of Realtors reported that the pending home sales index was .8 percent lower in July 2017. Year over year, the index fell 1.3 percent. The lower index numbers suggest that supply has lessened in the residential real estate market. In Florida and across the United States, 1.92 million homes were listed for sale in July 2017. This was a year-over-year drop of 9 percent.

Meanwhile, demand has remained strong thanks to low mortgage rates for 30-year loans and a healthy rate of employment nationally. According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates averaged 3.82 percent in early September. The unemployment rate has been reported at 4.3 percent and the economy continues to expand. The disparity between demand and supply may explain rising home values.

Homebuyers have been forced to reach deeper into their pockets as prices have risen. Median home prices have climbed to $258,300 nationally, an increase of 6.2 percent, which is more than double the rate at which hourly wages have risen. Pending sales, measured by signed sales contracts, increased in the West but fell in the Midwest, Northeast and South in July 2017. Because home sales are generally completed one or two months after the execution of a sales contract, pending sales are often looked to as a measure of future purchase activity.

The pending home sales index stood at 109.1 in July 2017. Individuals who are interested in buying or selling a home may want to consult a lawyer. An attorney with experience in real estate law may be able to help by reviewing sale documents and providing advice regarding zoning laws or the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. A lawyer might also help to negotiate the terms of sale or assist in drafting the legal documents necessary to effect transfer of ownership.

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