Asking prices hit 5-year high

by Ryan Smith15 Apr 2014
Home sellers’ asking prices are at a five-year high even as mortgage loan volumes have hit their lowest levels since 1997.

The median asking price stood at $269,020 in April, the highest level since July of 2008, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Prices are expected to rise another 4% this year, but a Goldman Sachs analysis warns that the price jump could be larger if inventory tightens.

“If homeowners with negative equity or in a money-losing position choose to wait for further house price growth before listing their homes and moving, and if construction of new homes stays far below normal, inventory on the market will remain low, leading to larger price appreciation than our central forecast suggests,” Goldman strategist Hui Shan wrote in the analysis.

Mortgage loan volume, meanwhile, saw its lowest quarterly levels in 17 years. Mortgage lenders did a total loan volume of $226 billion in the first quarter – the lowest quarterly amount since 1997, according to a Bloomberg report.

Mortgage originations have been on a steady decline since the middle of last year, when the Federal Reserve’s discussion of tapering its stimulus cash caused interest rates to surge and put a chokehold on the refi boom.


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