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.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.