As recovery continues, buy carefully and for the long run
Homes prices were up nationally in 2012 from a year ago. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, home prices continued to rise in the third quarter of 2012, marking six months in a row of increases.
The national composite index was up 3.6 percent over the third quarter of 2011 and up 2.2 percent from the second quarter of 2012. Home prices have returned to their mid-2003 levels nationally, after bottoming out at around the 2001 level in 2009.
Consumer confidence in November 2012 was at its highest point in 4 1/2 years, according to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index. Interest rates remain at or near all-time lows at around 3.5 percent for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.
Foreclosures as a percentage of all home sales have decreased from 28 percent in October 2011 to 24 percent a year later, and nondistressed sales have increased. This has resulted in an increase in the median home price.
The median existing-home price rose 11.1 percent in October 2012 from October 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. This was the eighth consecutive monthly year-over-year increase. Half the homes sold during a period sold for more than the median and half for less.
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