WASHINGTON (8/29/13)--Pending home sales in the U.S. were down in July, with higher mortgage interest rates slowing the market, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The Pending Home Sales Index--a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings-- declined 1.3%, to 109.5 in July from 110.9 in June, but is 6.7% above July 2012 when it was 102.6. The data reflect contracts but not closings. Pending sales have stayed above year-ago levels for the past 27 months.
There is an uneven pattern around the country, said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "The modest decline in sales is not yet concerning, and contract activity remains elevated, with the South and Midwest showing no measurable slowdown," he explained.
"However, higher mortgage interest rates and rising home prices are impacting monthly contract activity in the high-cost regions of the Northeast and the West," he said. "More homes clearly need to be built in the West to relieve price pressure, or the region could soon face pronounced affordability problems."
NAR projects existing-home sales to increase 10% for all of 2013, totaling about 5.1 million, and reach about 5.2 million next year.
To read the NAR release, use the link.
WASHINGTON (8/29/13)--U.S. mortgage applications decreased 2.5% for the week ending Aug. 23 from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, declined 2.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis. Unadjusted, the index dropped 3%.
The Refinance Index fell 5%, said MBA. The Refinance Index has fallen 64.2% from its recent peak the week of May 3.
The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index rose 0.3% and was 6% higher than the same week one year ago.
The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 60% of total applications from 61% the previous week, which is the lowest share observed since April 2011. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 7% of total applications. The Home Affordable Refinance Program share of refinance applications rose to 35% from 34% the previous week.
To read the MBA survey, use the link.