Some great news for the real estate market and the economy in general

1. Home prices rose faster than expected in 2013

In January 2012 the national median listing price was $179,900 and only rose $1000 by the end of 2012, according to realtor.com research. However, prices rose quite quickly this year to reach a median list price of $199,500 by September 2013.

2. Return of bidding wars

The combination of rising prices, low mortgage rates and low inventory led to a sense of urgency among buyers and the return of bidding wars, said Don Frommeyer, president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

3. Mortgage rates remained low

Mortgage rates increased a little bit in the late spring, but then leveled out and are still very low. Experts in the mortgage business expect that mortgages are likely to stay low through March or April 2014.

4. All-cash buyers are still very strong

About one-third of all home purchased in the USA 2013 were made with cash. This has been the trend  for the past three years. Some of these cash buyers are International, others are investors, but some are owner-occupant buyers. Due to tight underwriting standards for loans, buyers are getting help from relatives, savings accounts or retirement funds to buy their homes and then later will take out home equity loans.

5.  More renters are becoming first-time buyers

In many areas rents are rising faster than home prices. Low inventory and low mortgages are encouraging more renters to buy now instead of waiting.

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