Lending and Buying Trends                             

Mortgage backer Freddie Mac reported that mortgage interest rates fell to a record low in September. The average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate loan dropped to 4.11 percent in September, down from 4.27 percent in August.  September's rate was almost a quarter point below 2010 interest levels when similar mortgage loans were offered at 4.35 percent.

Despite the low interest rates, contract failures remain double of what they were just last year. Contract failures - caused by issues with credit, loan underwriting, or appraisal - reached 18 percent in August and September. NAR President Ron Phipps would like to see more access to credit.  "All year we’ve been discussing the fact that many credit worthy home buyers are being denied mortgages,” he said. "We need to remove the roadblocks to a housing recovery."

Investors accounted for 19 percent of September transactions down slight from 22 percent in August.  First-time buyers represented 32 percent of existing-home purchasers, while repeat buyers made up the balance.