The first quarter of 2012 showed mixed results in the housing market, although results are a marked improvement from last year’s numbers. According to real estate source HousingWire, the U.S. housing market is seeing fewer mortgage delinquencies than the same period in 2011 and is also seeing an increase in overall sales numbers. As more buyers come back into the market, the excess inventory of foreclosed homes and bank owned properties seems to be diminishing, and some properties and seeing multiple offers. Home prices have not yet stabilized and there is still uncertainty in the mortgage markets. Data in April show a modest increase in home sales of 5.1% with 373,300 units compared to 2011 when 355,000 homes were sold in the first quarter. New homes sales also grew from 25,400 in 2011 to 27,300 in the most recent quarter.
Many markets report that the inventory of homes for sale has reached the lowest level in years with only about a 6 month supply of new and existing homes. Mortgage originations also showed an increase to 918,000 mortgage refi originations in 2011 compared to 1.1 million originations in 2012.
Mortgage delinquencies showed a 3.8% delinquency rate in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 4.2% delinquency one year earlier. The sub-prime delinquency rate came in at 28.6% compared to 31.8% from a year earlier. While it may be too soon to say we’re out of the woods in the housing markets, these figure do at least point to an improving situation. Most local experts are reporting a brisk uptick in home buying activity compared to 2011, and with an easing of lending standard, a full recovery is expected to be underway by 2013.