CHICAGO – Aug. 8, 2016 – The housing market heated up in July, with several factors favoring buyers this summer.

Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com chief economist, says these factors have made this summer one of the best in a decade: The highest consumer confidence for a July since 2007; the highest nominal home prices for a July on record; and the lowest July mortgage rates on record.

Millennials, aged 25 to 34, picked up their presence on the market this summer too. Realtor.com reports that 75 percent of its 25- to 34-year-old users last July were looking to purchase a home. One year later, in July 2016, that percentage grew to 81 percent.

Buyers are also finding a few more choices later in the summer as the number of listings grew – there are 1 percent more homes for sale in July compared with June.

But hurdles do remain for buyers this summer: It's tougher to get approved for a mortgage than last year, Smoke notes. In July 2015, 5 percent of first-time buyers reported that qualifying for a mortgage was a significant hurdle. This July, that percentage has increased to 9 percent, Smoke reports.

Also, repeat buyers say their major challenge is finding a home to buy. The share of repeat buyers who say "finding a home" is a problem rose to 25 percent this July, realtor.com reports.

"The good news for would-be buyers who have struggled to find a home or have been outbid in prior attempts is that the balance of power shifts a bit more in your favor in late summer and fall," Smoke writes in his column at realtor.com. "This is the time of the year when sales slow down, but inventory is at its peak. That means there are more homes for sale per buyer now, and yet mortgage rates remain close to their all-time lows. The window to enjoy the best summer in a decade for real estate remains open for the well-qualified and those ready to act."

Source: "Finally, a July to Remember – and to Buy a Home," realtor.com® (Aug. 4, 2016)

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