Numbers Count: As sales pick up, new toolkit may help

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Numbers count. They matter to bankers and to prospective homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. Here’s my take on the key numbers on the housing market this week.

The numbers: Home sales gain in West, Midwest

Middle-aged couple looking around a living room as part of an open house.Pending home sales in February climbed to the highest level since June 2013, led by big gains in the Midwest and West, according the National Association of REALTORS Pending Home Sales Index released March 31. First-time home buyers made up 29% of buyers in February, up from 28% in January — the first increase since November 2014. Meanwhile, last week, mortgage applications jumped 4.6% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released April 1.

What counts: Homebuying season may have started before spring this year. With activity picking up, it may be more important than ever for prospective buyers — and first-time buyers, in particular — to be well prepared.

Just this week, a new resource came available to help you be better prepared for the homebuying and mortgage-closing processes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has introduced its new “Your Home Loan Toolkit.” The guide may help you determine what you can afford, what type of mortgage is right for you, and how to shop and compare different lenders.

If you’re in the market or thinking about getting into the market for a home, consider taking the time to look at this toolkit.


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