Daily News 9/24/14

September 24, 2014

Wednesday – September 24

Americans purchasing new homes surged in August as sales pushed to the highest level in six years and was the biggest monthly percentage increase since January 1992. The Commerce Department reported that August New Home Sales rose by 18% from July to an annualized rate of 504,000 units, well above the 435,000 expected. The gains were led by a 50% rise in the west from July, while the south came in at a distant second of an 8% increase. The 504,000 units are up 33% from August of 2013.

The home loan lending arena reversed course in the latest week as volumes decreased in both refinancing and purchases. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its Market Composite Index, a measure of total home loan application volume, fell by 4.1% for the week ending September 19. The refinance index declined by 7%, while the purchase index fell 0.3%. Home loan rates did tick up last week, which was one of the reasons for the decline in volumes.

In a sign of the times, Coke, Dr. Pepper and Pepsi have all said that they will be cutting the number of sugary drink calories by one-fifth in about a decade. The big three soda makers have also pledged to reduce calorie consumption in sugary drinks by 20% on average by 2025. The adult obesity rate in the U.S. is now more than one-third, 34.9% or 78.6 million Americans, while obesity related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Sedentary lifestyles coupled with a high intake of sugar related products are the main causes behind the ever growing obesity problems in the U.S.