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Freddie Mac reports that the average commitment rate for a conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.05 percent in July from 3.98 percent in June. This is the first time the rate has been above 4 percent since November 2014 (4.00 percent) and the highest since September 2014 (4.16 percent).

Chris Polychron, NAR President, explained that the housing market is in a much improved position and has made great progress since the depths of the recession. “Five years ago, distressed sales represented 33 percent of the market in July,” Polychron said. “For many previously distressed homeowners throughout the country, rising home values in recent years have helped recover equity and the vast improvement in several local job markets means fewer are falling behind on their mortgage payments.”

Distressed sales fell to the lowest share since NAR began tracking this information in October 2008. Foreclosures and short sales dropped to 7 percent in July from 8 percent in June; a year ago they were at 9 percent. Five percent of July’s sales were foreclosures while 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 17 percent below market value in July (15 percent in June), while short sales were discounted 12 percent (18 percent in June).

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