Morning Briefing: Existing home sales ease but remain above last year

by Steve Randall23 Mar 2017

Existing home sales ease but remain above last year

Sales of existing homes slipped 3.7 per cent in February after reaching their fastest pace for a decade in January.

However, the National Association of Realtors reports that sales were 5.4 per cent above the level of February 2016 with a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million.

Foot traffic reported by real estate agents is up compared to a year ago but tight inventory means sales are happening quickly, leaving buyers with limited choices and rising prices.

The median existing price for all home types was up 7.7 per cent year-over-year to $228,400.

"Investors are still making up an above average share of the market right now despite steadily rising home prices and few distressed properties on the market, and their financial wherewithal to pay in cash gives them a leg-up on the competition against first-time buyers," commented NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

MBA reports drop in mortgage applications since Fed

With the Fed’s increase in interest rates and lenders beginning to increase mortgage rates, new mortgage applications slipped last week.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s weekly survey shows a 2.7 per cent drop on a seasonally-adjusted rate and 2 per cent on an unadjusted rate.

The refinance index was down 3 per cent while the adjusted and unadjusted purchase rates were down 2 per cent. The share of mortgage applications that were refinances was down to 45.1 per cent from 45.6 per cent a week earlier.

ARM’s made up their largest share of mortgage applications since October 2014.

Diddy sells NYC condo after 4 years

Rapper and businessman Sean “Diddy” Combs has sold his New York condo four years after originally listing it.

The one-bedroom home in the Park Imperial building at 203 W. 56th St. was listed in 2013 for $8.5 million but was forced to cut the price several times. Last summer it was at $6.5 million, PageSix.com reports.

That turned out to be too high though with Diddy’s buyer paying $5.7 million this month.

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