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Although the fall and winter months often yield a slowdown in real estate activity, pending home sales increased significantly in October.
During the month, pending home sales spiked 5.2 percent from September to a mark of 104.8, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors. An index of 100 represents the level of activity when information was first collected by the industry group in 2001.
"We've had very good housing affordability conditions for quite some time, but we're seeing more impact now from steady job creation, and rising consumer confidence about home buying now that home prices have clearly turned positive," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
As a result of the gain last month, activity is now at the highest level seen since March 2007, the report said. Although pending home sales does not directly translate to actual transactions, the spike is a good sign for the rate of future home closings.
A greater number of consumers taking advantage of fixed mortgage rates hovering near all-time lows could be a major contributor to the rising pending home sales.
During the week ending November 29, the average rate for a 30-year FRM edged higher to 3.32 percent from 3.31 percent, according to a report from Freddie Mac. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.64 percent, up from 2.63 percent the previous week, the report said.
However, it's important for consumers to remember that the exact mortgage rate the receive relies on their personal financial and credit standing. Prior to applying for a home loan, prospective borrowers should ensure their finances are in the best possible shape to obtain affordable financing.