Positive economic environment for real estate sales

The economic environment for real estate sales was positive through most of 2014, and that good news should continue in 2015. After a slow start in the first quarter 2014 due to the long winter, the American economy had the strongest 6 month performance in 11 years including a 5% growth rate on an annual basis in the 3rd quarter.

Job growth picked up steam in 2014. Nationally the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.6%, down from 7% a year ago and from its high of 10% in October 2009. Illinois unemployment dropped to 6.4% (through November 30), its lowest point since June 2008.

Interest rates remained low during the year. That was somewhat surprising as they were expected to rise in the 3rd and 4th quarters.

The Dow ended 2014 at 17,823, up 7.52% after a remarkable increase of 29.65% in 2013.

The economy is expected to be favorable for home sales in 2015…with growth picking up, unemployment continuing to fall, and mortgage interest rates remaining low (though moving up modestly later in the year). A week ago, mortgage rates hit their 20 month low. Freddie Mac reported the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage interest rate at 3.59%; and 15 year fixed rate mortgages averaging 2.92%

I see home prices rising again, in line with historical norms of 3% to 4%. The bottom line is that if you want to sell your home in 2015, you’ll probably get it done and at a better price than a few years ago.

Margaret Ludemann, Coldwell Banker Realtor, homeowner in The Glen, Glenview, Illinois