Existing Home Sales Remain SubduedHome prices continued to show solid growth in most of the country due to limited inventory conditions, but rising prices and severe winter weather caused existing-home sales to slip. Total existing home sales, declined 0.43% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60 million from 4.62 million in the month before and 7.07% below the 4.95 million-unit level in February 2013. Last month's pace of sales was the lowest since July 2012, when it stood at 4.59 million.Existing Home Sales SummaryConditions in February were largely unchanged month over month. We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago» [read more]

 

New Housing Starts Fall Slightly Amid Winter Slow DownUnusually cold weather chilled new-home construction in February, though underlying data signals a possible spring rebound. US housing starts decreased 0.22% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The slight decline came after starts tumbled more than 11% in January, though that month's pace was revised up from the previous estimate.New Housing Starts Fall Slightly Amid Winter Slow DownBuilding permits, a sign of future construction typically influenced less by weather, advanced 7.73% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.018 million last month. That was the best monthly gain since April. The pace of starts and permits were both above economists' expectations» [read more]

 

First Time Home Buyers Limited By Student DebtFirst-time buyers accounted for 28% of purchases in February, up from 26% last month, but down from 30% in February 2013. Student debt appears to be a factor in the weak level of first-time buyers. The biggest problems for first-time buyers are tight credit and limited inventory in the lower price range.Character Of The MarketHowever, 20% of buyers under the age of 33, the prime group of first-time buyers, delayed their purchase because of outstanding debt. In a recent consumer survey, 56% of younger buyers who took longer to save for down payment identified student debt as the biggest obstacle.» [read more]

 

Home Sales Drop While Prices Continue To Grow

Existing home sales fell to the lowest level in a year-and-a-half, but ongoing inventory shortages continue to lift prices in much of the US. Total existing home sales dropped 5.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million from 4.87 million the month previous and are also 5.1% below the 4.87 million-unit pace in January 2013. Last month’s level of activity was the slowest since July 2012, when it stood at 4.59 million.New Home Sales SummaryDisruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception. Some housing activity will be delayed until spring. At the same time, we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates» [read more]

 

New Construction Dives 16% Last MonthConstruction on new US homes tumbled 16% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000. Particularly poor weather hit construction last month according to economists who had forecast a starts rate of 945,000, compared with an originally estimated rate of 999,000 for December. December’s starts were upwardly revised rate to 1.05 million accentuating the large month over month decline.New Construction Dives 16% Last MonthConstruction on new U.S. homes has pulled back since soaring in November to the fastest pace since 2008. January’s rate was the lowest since September, and was down 2% from the year-earlier period. But there may be better news in coming months: Residential projects delayed during a particularly tough winter could show up in the spring» [read more]