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June, 2011 Newsletter

++++++++++++ June 1, 2011 +++++++++++++++++++


Introduction: Existing Sales Drop, New Sales Rise
Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Decline in May
This Month's Tip: Using All the Resources Available


Introduction: Existing Sales Drop, New Sales Rise

Existing-home sales slipped in April, although the market has managed six
gains in the past nine months, according to the National Association of

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family,
townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, eased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 5.05 million in April from a downwardly revised 5.09 million
in March, and are 12.9 percent below a 5.80 million pace in April 2010;
sales surged in April and May of 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is underperforming.
“Given the great affordability conditions, job creation and pent-up demand,
home sales should be stronger,” he said. “Although existing-home sales are
expected to trend up unevenly through next year, unnecessarily tight credit
is continuing to restrain the market, along with a steady level of low
appraisals that result in contract cancellations.”

On the new home side, sales of new one-family houses in April 2011 were
at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 323,000, according to estimates
released jointly on May 24th by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department
of Housing and Urban Development. This is 7.3 percent (±16.6%) above the
revised March rate of 301,000, but is 23.1 percent (±9.7%) below the April 2010
estimate of 420,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2011 was $217,900; the
average sales price was $268,900. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new
houses for sale at the end of April was 175,000. This represents a supply of 6.5
months at the current sales rate.


Mortgage Rate Update: Rates Decline in May

Long-term mortgage interest rates declined steadily during the month of May.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.60% at the end of the month, according
to mortgage company Freddie Mac. 30-year rates began the month at an average
of 4.78%. Similarly, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined during the month
from an average of 3.97% at the end of April to an average of 3.78% at the end
of May. These continue to be some of the most advantageous rates for buyers
this year.

Mortgage Rate Update:
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: Using All the Resources Available

There is an old adage that "knowledge is power." This is especially
true when considering a home purchase since, being the most expensive
purchase of your life, that power can translate to thousands of
dollars of savings (or thousands of dollars overspent!) The most
important source of that knowledge? The resources that are
available, virtually all online, for home buyers.

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:
The Home Buyer's Information Center
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

A big percentage of home buyers are beginning the process online.
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 inspections and inspectors

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 have changed.
Don't shortchange yourself!

Next Month's Tip: Dealing With a Challenging Market
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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