Daily News 5/21/2015

May 21, 2015

Thursday – May 21

The National Association of REALTORS┬« reported that Existing Home Sales in April fell by 3.3% from March to an annual rate of 5.04 million, below the 5.24 million expected. Despite the decline, sales have increased year-over-year for seven consecutive months and are up 6.1% from a year ago. The median price was $219,000, nearly 9% above April 2014, the 38th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. “April’s setback is the result of lagging supply relative to demand and the upward pressure it’s putting on prices,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia and Kansas City regions slowed in the past few months as general activity, new orders and shipments were positive, but remained at low readings. The Philadelphia Fed Index fell to 6.7 in May from the 7.5 recorded in April. In addition, the employment component moderated compared with April. In Kansas City, its manufacturing index was -13 in May, down from -7 in April and -4 in March. The Kansas City Index of -13 is the lowest since the mid-2009 levels.

Home loan rates edged lower this week and fell for the first time in a month, slicing some cost for buyers during the busy spring buying season. Freddie Mac reported that the average fixed conforming 30-year home loan rate ($417,000 or less) fell to 3.84% with 0.7 in points and fees. A noted economist said that the general direction of rates will be higher this year as the economy continues to improve. But with solid employment numbers, the sector should be able to withstand modestly higher rates.