Scottsdale home sales have fallen to their slowest pace in nine months, with sales of existing homes tumbling 4.9 percent last month.

Relatively low mortgage rates and steady job growth have not yet spurred the kind of activity from buyers or sellers, raising the possibility of either a spring rush, or another year of slack Scottsdale home sales.

Scottsdale home sales have not picked up so far in 2015 like they were expected to

Nationwide, few properties are being listed for sale, would-be-buyers are holding off, and the harsh winter weather is taking its toll on attempts to hold open houses.

Scottsdale Home Sales Expectations Not Happening

Weaker Scottsdale home sales in 2014 had set up expectations of a strong rebound in 2015, but so far, that resurgence has yet to appear. Even the addition of more new jobs over the past three months has failed to make much of an impact on overall Scottsdale home sales.

Builders haven't started ramping up any new construction either. Confidence among builders in the market for single-family homes in February fell two points to a level of 55 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released recently. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good rather than poor.

Average mortgage rates have held well below 4 percent for weeks, which you would think bodes well for a rejuvenated housing market in the spring. But only time will tell.

Scottsdale home sales are not the only area where numbers are down. Sales slid in all four major geographical regions of the country last month: dropping 6 percent in the Northeast, 2.7 percent in the Midwest, 4.6 percent in the South and 7.1 percent in the West.

In the meantime, you can get more information about news that may affect the Scottsdale home sales market in our section on Scottsdale Real Estate to your right under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories.

Remember, we post tips daily to Twitter, and also on our Facebook Page. We'd love you to check us out there too.

Scottsdale Real Estate News - March 2015

In our Scottsdale Real Estate News for March 2015:

Home Prices Up Year-Over-Year

Home prices across most of the country were down for December, but still faired better than they were a year ago.

Black Knight Financial Services released its latest Home Price Index Report this past week, which showed that home prices nationwide were down an almost-flat 0.1 percent in December. At the same time, 2014 ended with home prices doing 4.5 percent better than a year prior.

Scottsdale home prices were down in December, but up overall in 2014 over the previous year

According to the report, the average home prices in the U.S. in December were around $241,000, up from $230,000 a year before and inching closer to the June 2006 peak of $268,000.

The Northeast and Midwest showed the most notable price drops in December, while a few metro areas actually showed rising home prices for the month.

It's not unusual to see home prices and sales drop off during December, as most people have their focus on the holidays.  However, data suggests that's all about to change…

.

Why Scottsdale Home Prices May be Ready to Lift Off

Data suggests that Scottsdale home prices are about to accelerate.

Earlier this week, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, on a month-over-month nonseasonally adjusted basis, posted an increase for the first time since August. Winter's chill is beginning to thaw, even though old man winter is still clinging on in many areas. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the index posted its best price gain since 2014. Prices, however, are still more than 16 percent below their prerecession peaks.

A few things have been holding back Scottsdale home prices lately. For one, inventories have dried up a little, limiting choices. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes that families are staying in their homes longer, an average of 10 years vs. the long-term norm of seven years. Wage gains have also been lukewarm so far in the recovery, which is hampering first-time buyers. And evidence shows that student loan debt is limiting the ability of many Millennials to get a mortgage.

Yet positives are showing up.

The household formation rate has increased to its highest level since the housing bubble. New-purchase mortgage applications are inching higher, thanks to the recent decline in home loan interest rates. (See our next story below)

New first-time homebuyer affordability, according to the NAR, has returned to early 2014 levels. And thanks to deleveraging efforts — defaults, short sales and the like — household mortgage debt has returned to 2001 levels, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

While some hurdles still remain, including relatively tight mortgage credit conditions, Scottsdale home prices look ready to accelerate as winter — which has been brutal in much of the country — gives way to the summertime peak in housing activity. Plus, this year's prices could get a boost because relatively fewer homes are available. As Scottsdale home prices rise, new construction activity will follow, providing a lift to U.S. economic growth later this year.

.

Scottsdale Mortgage Rates Rise for Third Straight Week

Scottsdale mortgage rates are still well below year-ago levels, but rates rose for the third consecutive week this past week.

Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.80 percent in the week ending Feb. 26, up from 3.76 percent last week. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.37 percent.

A 15-year fix averaged 3.07 percent this week, up from 3.05 percent. A one-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.44 percent, down from 2.45 percent.

Freddie Mac says rates rose this week, in part, on strong housing data. New home sales topped expectations in January, hovering near a six year high. The monthly S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed prices in December in the 20 largest cities were up an average of 4.6 percent from a year earlier.

Stay plugged in with us right here, and we'll keep you up to date on Scottsdale mortgage rates, as well as news affecting interest rates overall.

The Scottsdale housing market is finally showing signs of recovery, in large part because young adults are finding jobs, but some obstacles persist. Even with talk of the job market turning around, there are still over 9 million people unemployed. This leads to more young adults either struggling to find jobs, or taking part-time jobs with less pay. Either situation makes it much harder to save up for buying homes in the Scottsdale housing market. Mike Aubrey, host of the HGTV show “Power Broker” joined “CBS This Morning" recently to explain more…

.
The job market does continue to show signs of recovering and, hopefully, millennials will find more opportunities for buying homes and boosting the Scottsdale housing market.
 
Until it does, millennials who have goals of homeownership, should try and save whatever money they can. It's important for them to start building up credit by paying off loans and being on time with payments. Even if millennials continue to live at home for a while, this is a step in the right direction, and will help them be able to eventually buy homes.
 
Don't forget, we post daily tips on Facebook and Twitter. Often times our posts there are about the Scottsdale housing market, as well as news that affects the real estate market in general. Be sure to check us out there.
.

There are lots of reasons for selling a Scottsdale home, but there are many reasons why getting the home inspected first can be a key selling feature to buyers.

Why Get An Inspection Before Selling a Scottsdale Home?

Selling a Scottsdale home? Here are some reasons why you should get it inspected before putting it on the market.

One of the biggest reasons for getting your home inspected before you even put it on the market is, it helps your buyers see you as an honest seller. This makes the process more amicable as fears of being swindled are reduced and a certain trust factor is established right up front.

Getting a home inspection done if you're selling a Scottsdale home also protects your interests. Many people fear getting a home inspection because it may reveal detrimental things about the house that need to be fixed. On the other hand, it may uncover advantages in your home that enhance its value that no one knew about before. This gives you more power at the bargaining table. Imagine being able to increase your asking price because your home inspector discovered something new about the building. The home inspector can also offer tips on improvements that need to be made. Often time these improvements may enable you to increase your asking price for a lot less than having a buyer find the problem and request that you reduce the price when they make an offer.

On the flip side, getting a home inspection can serve as a heads up. If there are major issues, such as a damp basement, these are highlighted so you can get them taken care of before putting the property on the market or reduce your asking price to compensate for the flaw. Failure to do this could lead to you wasting your time and efforts. Buyer after buyer may turn down your property after getting the place inspected themselves. They may decide that for the asking price there are simply too many flaws and things to be fixed. You are also protected from asking for an unrealistic price and having the unit avoided like the plague because of an asking price that is just too high.

You're also protected from unfounded claims by a home inspection after an offer is made. This means if a defect emerges after the sale and your home inspection report does not support this flaw then you have your inspection to fall back on supporting your side of the deal. No need to be forced to use the proceeds of the sale of your home to effect renovation to a home that is no longer yours.

If you're thinking of selling a Scottsdale home, call a home inspector to check out the property first. Protect yourself and your family from unnecessary problems.

Find more news articles as they relate to selling a Scottsdale home in the Scottsdale Home Selling Tips section under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right. And find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for daily updates we post there as well.

Many Scottsdale homebuyers could get down payment assistance without winning a jackpot or the lottery

A study to make Scottsdale homebuyers realize they could qualify for a free down payment without hitting the jackpot and winning the lottery found that 87 percent of all U.S. homes qualify for down payment help.

Scottsdale Homebuyers Need to Investigate Options

Many Scottsdale homebuyers, especially Millennials, have not fully investigated their home financing options because they are pessimistic about qualifying for a mortgage. The Homeownership Program Index highlights the wide range and availability of down payment programs available to today's Scottsdale homebuyers. 91 percent of the 2,290 programs in the registry have funds available to lend to eligible homebuyers. Income limits vary depending on the market and programs extend beyond just first-time Scottsdale homebuyers. It's important for buyers to research down payment programs as part of their loan shopping process.

Historically low homeownership rates across nearly every age demographic have led to a public policy push to lower the barrier to homeownership through down payments as low as 3 percent, but the fact is, the barrier to homeownership is often much lower than even that 3 percent for borrowers who take advantage of one of the myriad down payment help programs available across the country.

RealtyTrac looked at 2,290 down payment programs from Down Payment Resource's Homeownership Program Index and found that out of more than 78 million U.S. single family homes and condos in 1,792 counties with sufficient home value data, more than 68 million (87 percent) would qualify for a down payment program available in the county where they are located based on the maximum price requirements for those programs and the estimated value of the properties.

Scottsdale Homebuyers May Be Missing the Boat

You could be REALLY missing the boat if you don't at least look into one of the free down payment plans available across the country.

We have seen a dramatic increase in financing options available and loosening of credit scores with conventional 3 percent down payments readily available for qualified Scottsdale homebuyers. This is great news for the millennials and Scottsdale homebuyers re-entering the market.

Get more information about how first time Scottsdale homebuyers, whether Millennials or not, can get started in the home buying process in our section on Scottsdale Home Buyer Tips to your right under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories.

We post daily to Twitter, and also on our Facebook Page. We'd love you to find us there too.