If you’re in the market for a new home today, you have probably researched things like the latest mortgage rates and average home prices.

If you’re in the market for a new home today, you have probably researched the latest residential mortgage rates and average home prices. These are important statistics to know. After all, a home purchase is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your life.

When you’ve surrounded yourself with information about today’s housing market, it can be hard to put it all in the proper perspective. But today’s housing market is actually quite a bit different than it was just a few short years ago. In some ways, this has benefited homebuyers today, while in others, the market five years ago was more ideal.

The buying landscape

In 2011, the average mortgage rate for the first nine months of the year was 4.61%. Over the course of the past five years, rates have fallen considerably. The average rate for the same period in 2016 was just 3.59%.

While rates were significantly higher, homes generally were priced lower. The median home price in 2011 was $227,200. By 2015, the median price had grown to $296,400. Perhaps this has contributed to the decline in the number of cash buyers. In 2011, 43.3% of buyers made their home purchase in cash – the highest amount ever recorded. Today, that number is just 30%.

Real estate market movement

The market as a whole is more active than it was five years ago, too. Over the past half-decade, the post-recession real estate industry has made great strides. In 2011, the effects of economic downturn were still very evident, but today, the economy is in a much more stable place. The employment rate is up and many industry experts have stated that the housing market has fully recovered. These factors could certainly explain why more homes are built and sold today than in 2011.

In 2011, 447,000 new homes were built. In 2015, 648,000 new homes were completed, giving homebuyers more options in their hunt for their forever home. Likewise, fewer homes were sold in 2011. During the first eight months of that year, 209,000 houses were sold. Between January and August of 2016, 401,000 homes were sold, marking a vast improvement.

A lot can happen in just five years. Chances are, your life looked much different then than it does today. However, some things aren’t as affected by time as others. For instance, five years ago, Academy Mortgage was helping people buy their perfect home, just like we do today. In fact, this hasn’t changed since 1988, when we first started in the mortgage industry, and we don’t plan on changing any time soon.