Existing Home Sales Show Biggest Monthly Rise in Three Years
The health of the nation’s housing industry looked a little rosier last week with a report from the National Association of Realtors® showing existing-home sales at their highest level since last April.
Total existing home sales — including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — rose 3.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million units in February from a downwardly revised level of 6.44 million in January. The sales pace for the month was 3.6% below the pace of a year earlier.
The increase in sales in February was the biggest monthly rise in three years.
“Some of the rise in home sales may be from mild weather that brought out shoppers in December,” said the association's chief economist, David Lereah. “But fundamentals have improved in the housing market and buyers see a window now with historically low mortgage interest rates and competitive pricing by sellers.
The national median existing-home price was $212,800 in February, down 1.3% from $215,700 a year earlier.
On the financing front, prospective home buyers continued last week to find stable and favorable mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.16%, up slightly from 6.14% in the prior week but lower than the 6.32% posted for the same week a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.4%, down just a tad from 5.42% for the previous week and 5.41% a year earlier.
“Mortgage rates were stable this week as the bond market took readings on producer prices and consumer prices in stride,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Excluding food and energy, core inflation at the wholesale level was up more than had been anticipated in February, but at the retail level the increase was in line with expectations. Weighing the relevant factors, the Fed decided to leave the target federal funds rate unchanged at 5.25%.”
Is the Housing Correction Over? Attend Construction Forecast Conference on April 26
Will housing demand outweigh affordability hurdles, inventory overhangs and the retreat of investors? Where are home prices headed?
Get the answers to these and other questions at the Construction Forecast Conference — Spring 2007 on April 26 in Washington, D.C.
Panels of nationally recognized experts will discuss economic trends, government policies, developments in the housing industry and the results from NAHB's recent surveys at the day-long conference.
For more information and to register, click here.
Can't Attend in Person? Webcast of Conference Also Available
The conference is also available via Webcast. For Webcast information, visit www.nahb.org/cfcwebcast.
Want to Know Your State’s Starts Forecast for 2008?
Find out in HousingEconomic.com’s State Starts Forecast (sample). The starts forecast includes downloadable Excel tables of total, single-family and multifamily starts by region and state.
To learn more, visit www.housingeconomics.com.
NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips in Cooling Market
With the current cooling of the nation’s housing market expected to persist into the middle of the year, NAHB has developed a comprehensive online toolkit geared to providing association members with information that will help them prosper in today’s changing business environment.
To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. To create a login, go to www.nahb.org/login or click on the log-in button on the main menu bar.
For assistance, call the NAHB Member Service Center at 800-368-5242.