Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“Moving Up” More Cautiously

Today’s housing statistics from the National Association of Realtors showed a decline in October in both the number of existing houses sold and the average price. Sales declined 2.2 from the previous month, seasonally adjusted. They were down 25.9 percent when compared to the previous year.

Part of what’s going on is that people are being more cautious in “moving up” to a bigger or better house. This includes people selling condos to buy single-family houses. It has always been a better financial strategy to pay off the mortgage on a home before selling it to buy a more expensive one. It appears that more households are taking that approach now, and not moving as soon as they can qualify for a larger mortgage. One indication of this in the National Association of Realtors report is the rate of all-cash sales, the home purchases that don’t involve loans. All-cash sales were 29 percent, the same as September, but a higher rate than we‘ve seen in recent years.