Existing-Home Sales Up, Mortgage Apps Down
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Existing-Home Sales Up, Mortgage Apps Down

December 19, 2018
Total existing-home sales increased 1.9 percent from October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.32 million in November,
Total existing-home sales increased 1.9 percent from October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.32 million in November, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). However, sales volume was down by seven percent from 5.72 million level from November 2017.
 
The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $257,700, up 4.2 percent from the $247,200 level from one year earlier. November’s price increase was the 81st consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of November was 1.74 million, down from 1.85 million in October. However, inventory was also up from 1.67 million a year ago, however.
 
“The market conditions in November were mixed, with good signs of stabilizing home sales compared to recent months, though down significantly from one year ago. Rising inventory is clearly taming home price appreciation,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “A marked shift is occurring in the West region, with much lower sales and very soft price growth. It is also the West region where consumers have expressed the weakest sentiment about home buying, largely due to lack of affordable housing inventory.”
 
Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) survey of applications for the week ending Dec. 14 showed a 5.8 percent decline in the adjusted Market Composite Index from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index was down by seven percent. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased seven percent from one week earlier while the unadjusted index took a 10 percent tumble—although the latter was two percent higher than the same week one year ago.
The Refinance Index dipped by two percent from the previous week, yet the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 43.5 percent of total applications, its highest level since February 2018, from 41.5 percent the previous week.
 
All three of the federal home loan programs recorded declines: the FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.4 percent from 10.8 percent the week prior, while the VA share of total applications fell to 9.9 percent from 10.2 percent and the USDA share of total applications dropped to 0.6 percent from 0.7 percent.
 
“Despite mortgage rates falling across the board last week to their lowest levels in three months, mortgage applications also declined, as more potential borrowers likely stayed away because of ongoing financial market volatility and economic uncertainty,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase applications decreased almost seven percent over the week and refinances decreased around two percent, led by a larger decline in government refinances compared to conventional refinances. With rates continuing to slide lower, refinance borrowers with larger loan balances seemed more apt to take action. The average loan balance for refinance loans increased to its highest level since September 2017.”
Total existing-home sales increased 1.9 percent from October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.32 million in November

 
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