Existing Home Sales in January Surged, Mortgage Loan Application Volume fell in latest week, Gas prices remain unchanged this week

February 22, 2017

The National Association of REALTORS┬« reported on Wednesday that Existing Home Sales in January surged by 5.69 million annualized units. This was up 3.3% from December to highs not seen since February 2007 (5.79 million). All major regions across the nation saw gains, with the exception of the Midwest. The median existing home price rose 7.1% from January 2016 to $228,000. Inventories remained low at just a 3.6-month supply. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says January’s sales gain signals resilience among consumers even in a rising interest rate environment.

In mortgage news, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Market Composite Index, a measure of total mortgage loan application volume, fell 2% in the latest week as rates edged higher. The refinance index declined 1% and the purchase index fell 2.8%. The 30-year fixed rate conventional mortgage ($424K or less) rose to 4.36% from 4.32%. In addition, the MBA reported that the refinance index fell 1%, while the purchase index declined 2.8%.

Gas prices at the pumps remained unchanged this week as drivers gear up for higher prices in the coming months. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is at $2.28 this week, unchanged from the previous week and down from $2.31 a month ago. However, the price is up from $1.71 a year ago. Motor club AAA said as refinery maintenance season begins and driving demand increases, we could expect to see some of the gasoline supply in the U.S. soaked up and higher gas prices in the March and April.