Morning Briefing: Existing home sales slump on low supply

by Steve Randall22 Mar 2016
Existing home sales slump on low supply
Many analysts are calling the lack of housing inventory a new crisis for the US housing market and sales in February reflect its impact. The National Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales fell by 7.1 per cent in February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million, down from 5.47 million in January.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist noted other factors in the decline; the East Coast blizzard and stock market volatility; but said that low supply is the main issue along with affordability.
Despite the lower figures for February, sales of existing homes are still 2.2 per cent higher than in the same month of 2015.
Online OK for health info but brokers win for mortgage advice
Financial tech is growing in popularity but when it comes to mortgage advice a traditional approach wins hands down. A new poll by Canadian mortgage lender Scotiabank found that while most people seek out information online such as recipes (79 per cent) and medical advice (75 per cent), fewer (32 per cent) trust the internet with their finances.

While having a great website can help attract clients, when it comes to mortgage advice 70 per cent of respondents said they would talk to an advisor. That beats financial websites (41 per cent), parents/family (36 per cent) and real estate agents (25 per cent).

Almost half said the glut of information online puts them off and although 89 per cent feel it is easier to find information they need online rather than seek it out from other sources, an overwhelming 73 per cent say even though the information is helpful they will still always seek advice from an expert.
FinTech firms partner to offer expanded mortgage credit options
loanDepot and Avant have announced a new partnership to expand credit options borrowers nationwide. The two FinTech companies will now offer a wider range of products, with Avant’s focus on personal loans of up to $35,000 and loanDepot offering mortgage and nonmortgage loans totalling $60 billion since its 2010 inception.
February sales gained in Virginia
Figures from realtors in Virginia show that the state enjoyed strong residential sales in February. Year-over-year there was a 5 per cent rise in closed sales to 6,391. Sales jumped 9 per cent from January which was hit by severe weather.

“REALTORS® experienced a big jump in February sales,” observed 2016 VAR President Bill White. “The bounce contrasts January figures that were suppressed by winter weather, but also demonstrates clear gains on last year’s market activity. With continued low rates and inventory increasing into the spring, sales should continue to rise in keeping with both seasonal trends and the sustained strengthening of Virginia’s real estate industry.”



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