Report forecasts sunny days ahead for housing market

The housing market is showing signs of stabilization – good news for both buyers and sellers – according to figures from a recent National Association of Realtors report.

According to the report, home prices rose in 74 out of 146 metropolitan areas in the first quarter of 2012. Based on data from the report, NAR predicts total home sales will increase 7 to 10 percent in 2012, which would be a welcome shift for homeowners who are looking to sell.

The optimistic outlook for the housing market extends to homebuyers as well. Mortgage rates in the U.S. have reached record lows. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed loan has fallen to 3.83 percent, while the average for a 15-year fixed loan also reached a record low at just 3.05 percent.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that a good credit rating is the key to qualifying for the best loan rates. So if you are in the market for a home, you should request free copies of your credit reports. Review the information on your credit reports for errors and inaccuracies, while also noting any past-due or delinquent accounts. Any accounts that aren’t current will negatively affect your credit score, so you should make any necessary payments on those outstanding debts prior to applying for a loan.

At MMI, we realize the process for first-time home buyers can be daunting, which is why we created a free first-time homebuyer class in two convenient formats. You can search for local classes in your area, or sign up for a free online webinar. Participants in the workshop will learn information crucial to creating a positive home-buying experience, including:

For more information, visit the homeownership and home loans section of our website.

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.