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February, 2007 Newsletter

+++++++++++ February 1, 2007 +++++++++++++++++++

CONTENTS:
Introduction: Existing Sales Down, New Home Sales Up
Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Tick Up in January
This Month's Tip: Prepare For Your Move
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Introduction: Existing Sales Down, New Home Sales Up

According the the National Association of REALTORS, total existing-home
sales including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and
co-ops eased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.22
million units in December from a level of 6.27 million in November. Sales were
7.9 percent lower than a 6.75 million-unit pace in December 2005.

In new homes, sales of new one-family houses in December 2006 were at a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,120,000, according to estimates released
jointly on January 26th by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of
Housing and Urban Development. This is 4.8 percent (±12.2%) above the
revised November rate of 1,069,000, but is 11.0 percent (±11.7%) below the
December 2005 estimate of 1,259,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2006 was
$235,000; the average sales price was $290,100. The seasonally adjusted
estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 537,000. This
represents a supply of 5.9 months at the current sales rate.

An estimated 1,061,000 new homes were sold in 2006. This is 17.3 percent
(±3.4%) below the 2005 figure of 1,283,000.

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Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Tick Up in January

Mortgage rates continued a slow--but steady--rise during the month of
January. According to mortgage company Freddie Mac, 30-year
fixed-rate mortgages began the month of January at an average of
6.18% and ended at 6.25%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also moved
upward to an average of 5.98% after beginning the month of January at
an average of 5.94%.

One of the biggest determining factors on long term interest rates,
the rate of inflation, was reported to be fairly benign in 2006. This
may bode well for the trend of mortgage rates going forward. In
addition, the Federal Open Market Committee left short term rates
at 5.25 at their meeting that ended on January 31st, helping to
cap shorter term interest rates for at least the foreseeable future.

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: Prepare For Your Move

Even before you have finalized a contract to purchase a home, it is a wise plan
to make plans for moving. You can't commit an exact date yet, of course,
but you can begin to lay the groundwork for your upcoming move, saving some
aggravation later.

Unclutter!

If you are selling a home and also buying one, you should have taken a big
step toward moving when you uncluttered your present home in preparation
for putting it on the market. If you are not selling a home, you can still begin
by uncluttering your present residence now rather than waiting until moving
day is approaching. Depending on your personality (whether or not you are
a pack-rat!) this activity can either be relatively simple or a potential nightmare.
They key to the exercise is to remember "it makes no sense to move junk that
we don't really want or need!" Getting rid of items not needed is pretty easy:
have a yard or garage sale, give items to charity or, as a final option, junk
undesirable items.

Organize

The time to get organized is early on in the process. After you have an
estimate of your moving date, make a calendar just for moving preparation
and "to-dos." Start by separating those items that you will not be using
unitl after you move from those that you will be using right up until the
moving day. Examples of this may be winter clothing in the summer or
yard maintenance items in the winter. It is easier if you accomplish this
room-by-room so that when you arrive at the new home you can transfer
those items to their new location.

Notify

As soon as you have confirmed your new address and moving date, file a
change of address from with the United States Postal Service in the U.S.
https://moversguide.usps.com/ or in Canada at
https://ssl.postescanada-canadapost.ca/smartmoves/default-e.aspx.
All utilities will need to beformed as to the start service date at the new
home and the end service date at the old one. These include: power,
phone, cable, gas, water and sewer. Don't forget newspaper delivery
if you receive it.

Pack

Do a little bit at a time--don't save everything for the last week or so
or you will likely be overwhelmed. Pack as you have organized--room
by room. This will make unpacking much easier at the other end of
your move. Keep boxes that you have packed at 50 pounds or less
for ease of moving. Use sheets and towels as packing materials--
they have to be moved anyway and are great at protecting more
fragile items. Clearly mark all boxes, top and sides, for easy
identification. Boxes containing fragile items should be marked as
such since the movers will not know this automatically.

Additional Hints if Moving Out of Town

If you are moving to a new town, your preparation will need to be a
bit more involved. Not only will you be responsible for all of the
tasks mentioned above, you will need to make arrangements with
additional services such as banking, child care, auto registrations
and licenses as some examples. Again, make lists to keep track
of what needs to be done--and when--and mark items as completed.
The Internet can be a big help here, since you will probably be able
to do much of the groundwork without ever leaving your current
home.

You can find additional resources on the Home Buyer's Information
Center site on this subject:
Moving
Moving Contact Checklist


Next Month's Topic: Buy or Sell First?

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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
here
.

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
here.

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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