Market conditions vary across local markets and states, but the REALTORS® confidence and traffic indices indicate no substantial change in market activity in November 2015 compared to October 2015. However, compared to a year ago, market activity improved, according to the November 2015 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report.
Sustained job creation, the low interest rate environment, and measures to reduce the cost of borrowing and make credit more accessible to responsible borrowers continue to bolster the housing market recovery. However, the implementation of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) regulations on October 3, 2015 appears to be delaying the settlement of contracts and impacting sales. About 47 percent of respondents reported longer closing times compared to a year ago, up from 37 percent in the October 2015 survey.
First-time home buyers accounted for 30 percent of sales, essentially unchanged from the previous months’ figures. Cash sales rose to 27 percent of sales as purchases for investment purposes also increased to 16 percent of sales and distressed properties rose to nine percent of sales. Properties typically were on the market 54 days nationally compared to 65 days a year ago. It typically took another 40 days to close a sale, up from 35 days in August 2015.
Tight inventories, decreasing affordability, and more stringent credit standards continued to be reported as key issues affecting sales, especially of first-time homebuyers. “Late” and “low” appraisal valuation, tighter inspection guidelines, and difficulty in obtaining financing for condominium purchases were also reported as factors weighing down the market recovery.