Daily News 3/23/2015

March 23, 2015

Monday – March 23

The National Association of REALTORS® reported on Monday that February Existing Home Sales rose by a modest 1.2% from January, to an annual rate of 4.88 million units; this was lower than the 4.90 million expected. Low inventories were said the be a key factor in price growth, which rose to the fastest pace in a year. Chief economist Lawrence Yun said although February sales showed modest improvement, there’s been some stagnation in the market in recent months. “Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices to near unsuitable levels.”

The foreclosure problems across the nation have been easing ever since the bottom fell out of the housing market back in 2008-2009. Black Knight Financial Services reported on Monday that foreclosure starts fell by 15% in February from January and was the third lowest point in at least seven years. In addition, foreclosure inventories fell below the 800,000 level for the first time since December 2007.

Gas prices at the pump hit multi-year lows in January before edging higher in late February and March. However, at a time of year that usually sees a continued rise in prices due to an uptick in demand ahead of the summer driving season, prices have leveled off in the past few weeks. The national average price for a regular gallon of gas is $2.42, the same as it was a week ago. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that falling oil prices and strong production at U.S. refineries led to stabilizing numbers at the pump.