New home sales up, interest rates down - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

New home sales up, interest rates down

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TYLER (KYTX) - Home buyers are snatching up new houses across the country and right here in East Texas. Research shows new home sales are up as mortgage rates continue to drop.

Freddie Mac reports the 15-year fixed mortgage rate fell to a record low of 2.61% last week. That's giving the housing market a boost.

Area home builders say these historically low interest rates are definitely helping them out this year in the way of new home sales and new construction. But, they say there are plenty of other reasons people are moving to East Texas to raise a family or retire.

"We have a very good environment in Tyler for new home construction. We have a lot of good elements to our economy that bring people in." says Kevin Humphrey, president of Kevin Humphrey Homes.  "The medical community is doing really well. We get a lot of retirees moving in to Tyler."

He says business has been good to Tyler home builders this year.

"I've seen a big change this year. And so, I think people are feeling more confident and there's just been a pick-up in the number of people moving here.

David Schaub and his family are newcomers to East Texas.

"It was the weather, the community and the school system." he says.

Their move-in date is right around the corner, and they can't wait to call Tyler home.

"It's quiet, you know, good neighbors. They look out for each other."

Schaub says his job has taken his family all over the country, but they're here to stay in the Rose City.

"Oh, this is permanent. There's no turning back. I've cut all ties. So, after retiring from the military... [my] wife has just finally severed her ties, and [we're] just embedding into the community."

And looking forward to raising their two children here.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports new home sales were up 1.5% from February to March at a rate of 417,000 per year.

Humphrey says a few more draws to East Texas are the booming oil and gas industry, lower taxes, and the slower-paced lifestyle.

Existing home sales are also up. Freddie Mac reports a pick-up in the pace of existing home sales to nearly 5 million per year during the first quarter of 2013- the most since the fourth quarter of 2009.

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