Sales of existing homes fall in July 2011

November 07th, 2011

Existing home sales fell in July 2011 from an upwardly revised June, but were higher than a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales of existing homes fell 3.5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.67 million from in July, but were up 21 percent from a year earlier.

"Affordability conditions this year have been the most favorable on record dating back to 1970, but many buyers are being held back because banks are offering financing to only the most highly qualified borrowers, ignoring a large share of otherwise creditworthy buyers," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Those potential buyers represent the difference between an uneven recovery and a much more robust housing market that could stimulate additional economic activity and create jobs."

Use a free mortgage calculator

Determining if you are a qualified buyer or can get a refinance in this market can be tough. But there are different mortgage calculators that help determine how much you might be able to borrow in the current real estate market. Here are a few things that can boost your chance of qualifying for a loan:

  • Be attentive to you credit. Mortgage lenders want borrowers with strong credit scores who are likely to pay back their loans. It can take time to improve credit and boost your credit score. Get started now if you want to be in a position to qualify for loan before mortgage rates start to rise again.
  • Save as much money as possible for a down payment. Using a down payment savings calculator can help set a goal for putting aside enough money for a home purchase or for bringing cash to boost your home equity at closing when refinancing.
  • Check out home values in your neighborhood. It's a good idea to equip yourself with up-to-date information about what's happening with home sales in your area. That way you'll have more realistic expectations of how much of a loan you can qualify to get for a refinance or purchase.
  • Pay down debt. Use any discretionary income left over after paying bills to knock out debt. The lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better. Lenders want to know you'll come up with mortgage payments each month.

View amortization schedules

An amortization calculator can allow you to run different scenarios for getting a mortgage loan. That way you can see what your monthly principal and interest payments would be over the life of a loan with different down payment and interest rates plugged in.

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