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August, 2007 Newsletter

+++++++++++ August 1, 2007 +++++++++++++++++++

Introduction: Existing and New Home Sales Decline
Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Stabilize a Bit
This Month's Tip: Online Resources

Introduction: Existing and New Home Sales Decline

Welcome to the August edition of the Home Buyer's
Newsletter. In sales activity in the month of June, both existing
sales and new home sales showed significant declines.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes,
condominiums and co-ops – declined 3.8 percent to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate1 of 5.75 million units in June from a
downwardly revised level of 5.98 million in May, and are
11.4 percent below the 6.49 million-unit pace in June 2006. 

Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, said some consumers
are uncertain.  “Home buyers have been getting mixed
signals about the housing market, which is causing some
of them to hesitate,” he said.  “Mortgage interest rates
have risen recently, and tightening lending standards
are continuing to hamper sales, but fewer risky loans
will put the market on a healthier path.  Although general
buying conditions remain favorable for long-term home
buyers, it appears some buyers are looking for more signs
of stability before they have enough confidence to make
an offer.”

In new home activity, sales of new one-family houses in
June 2007 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
834,000, according to estimates released jointly on July 26th
by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing
and Urban Development. This is 6.6 percent (±11.0%) below
the revised May rate of 893,000 and is 22.3 percent (±10.1%)
below the June 2006 estimate of 1,073,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in June 2007 was
$237,900; the average sales price was $316,200. The seasonally
adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was
537,000. This represents a supply of 7.8 months at the current
sales rate.


Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Stabilize a Bit

Mortgage rates stabilized somewhat during the month of July.
Although there were some fluctuations mid-month, rates ended
the month very close to where they began. In 30-year fixed-rate
mortgages, the end of July saw an average of 6.69% after starting
the month at an average of 6.67% according to mortgage company
Freddie Mac. In 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, the average rate
began the month at 6.34% and ended the month at an average of

Going forward, we will need to get a clear picture on the direction
of both the economy and inflation before a trend--either up or
down--becomes established. If we continue to get somewhat
conflicting reports then we may see another period like last
month where rates rose and fell but ended up very close to
where they began.

For current average mortgage rates, see the
rates page.

For more information on mortgages, visit the
Mortgage Section

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This Month's Tip: Online Resources

If there is one change that has done the most to revolutionize the
process of buying a home, it is the explosion of growth in the
resources that are available online. The last 5 or so years have
seen an incredible increase in what can be researched and
handled from the comfort of your current home in front of a
computer screen connected to the internet.

In addition to resources such as the Home Buyer's Information
Center, the basis of this newsletter, which offers hundreds of pages
of information and can be found at:
http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/ there are numerous other
tools and resources available to you, including:

+ Ways to shop for a home
+ Ways to shop for a mortgage
+ How to get pricing information
+ Where to find professional assistance

Ways to shop for a home

The internet has made it possible to begin to shop for a home
right from your desk--whether you are looking in your own
neighborhood or thousands of miles away across the country.
You can look at details, compare amenities, frequently see
square footage information and more. You often can see
numerous photos of the home and even, in some cases,
"virtual tours" where you can put an eye on a room or rooms
from corner to corner. You can find more information on finding
a home online at:
Find a Home

Shop for a mortgage

Not only are there many more mortgage options available today
than there were just a few short years ago, there are many more
mortgage sources. This both widens your choices and potentially
makes the process a bit more confusing. The internet levels the
field a good bit, though, since you can not only do research there
on different mortgage products available but also do comparisons,
apply online and even have lenders work for your business with
competing offers. There is a large section on the site dealing with
all aspects of the mortgage process:

Get pricing information

Making sure that you pay the right price for a home should be a
legitimate concern and a prime focus for the purchaser of a
property. Since there are no "sticker prices" or suggested
retail prices on resale homes and the fact that prices can vary
greatly on new homes, it is important to get a clear picture of the
value of any prospective home. You can do this in a number
of ways, including Comparative Market Analyses and appraisals.
See the section devoted to these subjects:
Home Values

Find professional assistance

Buying a home is not a solitary activity. Whether for legal, convenience
or comfort reasons, most buyers take advantage of a number of
professionals--agents, attorneys, bankers, mortgage brokers,
inspectors and the like. By assembling a good team of professionals,
you make your own job a whole lot easier. Some resources to
Finding Agents
Professional Inspectors and Inspections

In the final analysis, you can do much of the "legwork" online. Just remember
that buying a home is not a television show or a video game. You will need to
spend the time and effort to physically examine and assess any potential home.
To try to finalize everything "sight unseen" may have worked well when property
values were exploding (how wrong could you be?) but things are changing.
Don't shortchange yourself!

Next Month's Tip: Inspection Essentials

The Home Buying Checklist

Many of our visitors have said that one of the most valuable
aspects of the Home Buyer's Information Center is the
Buying Checklist, where they can make sure that all
the bases have been touched.
You can find the checklist

As always, if you have suggestions for improving the
site, or topics you would like to see addressed in
this newsletter (or, if you have used the Home Buyer's
Information Center to successfully purchase a home),
drop us a quick line

A special thanks to all those who have written to let us know
that they have found the Home Buyer's Information Center a
helpful resource in their buying process.

Have a great month and good luck in all your endeavors!

The Team at the Home Buyer's Information Center

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