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We just asked Should You Rent or Buy Your Next Home? If you answered, “Buy,” get started, because prices are going up. Bloomberg reports the housing market strengthened in January at its fastest pace in nearly seven years.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values, calculated based on a three-month average of 20 cities, showed an 8.1 percent increase over the prior year. They’ve been picking up steam for several months now, from just below 2 percent growth in August to around 5.5 in November and over 8 percent now. The increase was bigger than most experts had predicted.
The number of available homes is still well below the average prerecession: 1.94 million. In January it was 1.77 million, which Bloomberg says is the lowest number since 1999.
The National Association of Realtors said the median value of a previously-owned home was up to $173,600 in February, which is an increase of 11.6 percent over the previous year.
Interest rates are still enticingly low, too: The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan was 3.54 percent last week, still down half a percentage point from a year ago.