Existing home sales fell 6.4% between November and December and 10.3% year-over-year according to the latest National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Confidence Index. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun cited interest rate activity as the cause. “The housing market is obviously very sensitive to mortgage rates,” he said. “Softer sales in December reflected consumer search processes and contract signing activity in previous months when mortgage rates were higher than today. Now, with mortgage rates lower, some revival in home sales is expected going into spring.”
Though mortgage interest rates are nearly 1/2% higher than a year ago, Freddie Mac is reporting that they were unchanged for the week ending January 17. The Primary Mortgage Market Survey credits a manufacturing slowdown and signals that the Federal Reserve may back off the pace of its own rate increases.
The national delinquency rate dipped to its lowest rate since 2000 last month, according to Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS). December’s 3.9% U.S. mortgage delinquency rate was the lowest year-end number since the turn of the century, and 17.55% below 2017’s closing total.
The answer to a whimsical question posed by creative market research agency Atomik Research in the December 2018 Homebuyer Sentiments Survey provides interesting insight into modern dating. Nearly half – 48% – of survey respondents answered “Yes” to this question: “Just like with getting a loan for buying a home, do you wish finding a dating partner also required a pre-approval letter?”
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