In Freddie Mac's results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.35% for the week ending December 27, 2012. Last year at this time, the FRM averaged 3.95%
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent for 2012, the lowest annual average in at least 65 years. Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages were nearly 0.6 percentage points below that of the
beginning of the year, which translates into an interest payment savings of nearly $98,600 over the life of a $200,000 loan.
New-Home Sales Jump to Fastest Pace in Years
New single-family home sales soared to its fastest pace in 2 1/2 years, jumping 4.4 percent over last month, as median prices also rose, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
The sales pace in November for new-home sales was the highest since April 2010, the same time when the federal home-buyer tax credit had expired, the Commerce Department reported.
The median home price of new homes jumped 14.9 percent year-over-year, reaching $246,200.
"New-home sales are gradually picking up momentum as the economy improves," says Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "Prospective home buyers who have been sitting on the fence for years are moving back into the market due to continuing low mortgage rates."
Buyer Urgency Expected
To Drive 2013
Home shoppers will likely have more urgency in the new year, wanting to buy before home prices rise even more.
Home prices are edging up in most markets, and buyers are taking notice.
Buyer surveys recently have shown that home shoppers expect home prices to continue to inch up, and they want to cash in before they rise too much higher.
"Every single thing about housing is flashing green" with household formation rising, inventory falling, and affordability hovering at record highs, James Dimon, chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase told CNBC last month.
"Rising prices could eventually encourage more sellers to put their homes on the market, which would help boost demand even further," The Wall Street Journal reports.
5 Popular Luxury Amenities
Upscale buyers are "going back and doing more work on their homes," says Paul Boomsma, president of Luxury Portfolio International in Chicago. Select home designers across the county helped to identify some of the following popular luxury amenities in today's high-end homes: Wet rooms: These rooms boast multiple types of showerheads, a steam feature, and a bench to sit or lie down. Infinity pools: These seemingly endless pools are often being combined with a fire feature - such as standing urns - that reflects on the water at night. Media centers: High-end media centers that include comfortable seating, high-def TVs, cameras for videoconferencing, and digitally controlled sound systems are being topped off with extra amenities like a wet bar, small catering kitchen, and a refrigerator. Wood finishes: More high-end homes are paying careful attention to grain patterns for wood finishes for a more consistent look and focusing on elaborate staining processes that may include up to eight steps. Wine cellar: It's "more than just a closet with wine in it - it's an intimate entertaining space," says Malcolm Morris, an architect and owner of MDM Development Architecture, based in Chicago. "Some are in the style of a castle grotto with stone and wood and a little table to have dessert, even within the wine cellar. The lack of windows increases the level of intimacy."