Wow – what fun it is to be in a good real estate market again! So many good things are happening in our region.
Average price of homes sold is up in most of our markets. The best performers are Burlington up 13% and Cedar Rapids up 12% compared to 1st quarter average sales prices in 2014. See the Regional Real Estate Activity Chart below for details.
Interest rates are also lower than last spring. Amazingly, low rates are fueling our market. As of April 14, conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgages with no points are around 3.625%. This compares to 4.375% last April 17. Conventional 15-year fixed rate mortgages are still a great value at 2.99%, with no points. FHA and VA 30-year rates are hovering around 3.375%. And FHA has lower up front mortgage insurance cost than last year – having dropped from 1.35% to .85%, making it a much more attractive option. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) are back – with 5/1 ARM running at about 3%.
Refinancing activity is also vibrant – up significantly from 2014. Ruhl Mortgage experienced 25% of their first quarter loans from clients refinancing prior loans, compared to 12.5% in the first quarter of 2014.
Overall, its a great time to sell. Buyers are active and eager to buy before interest rates go up. Activity in some of our markets is being held back by a shortage of listing inventory. We consider a buyer’s market to be more than 6 months of inventory, a seller’s market to be up to 3 months of inventory and a balanced market to be 4 – 6 months of inventory. The following is a sampling of our markets’ months of inventory.
Months of Inventory
Burlington Area 4.3 months
Cedar Rapids Area 3.8 months
Dubuque Area 3.3 months
Illinois Quad Cities 3.7 months
Iowa Quad Cities 2.9 months
Iowa City Area 6.2 months
Muscatine Area 3.3 months
Homes are selling faster than they are coming on the market. So for sellers waiting for the “best time to list their properties,” the time is right.