Saturday, October 25th8.7°C
23888

Pending US home sales up 3.3 per cent in July in hopeful sign; purchases still below 2013 level

WASHINGTON - More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in July, a sign that buying has improved as mortgage rates have slipped, the number of listings has risen and the rate of price increases has slowed.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.3 per cent to 105.9 last month. Still, the index remains 2.1 per cent below its level a year ago.

The pressures that caused home sales to stall last year have started to ease. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped to 4.1 per cent, a 52-week low. Prices are no longer rising at double-digit annual rates, thereby helping to improve affordability.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.

The number of signed contracts in the Northeast climbed 6.2 per cent and is ahead of its pace last year. Pending sales also rose in the South and West, though the index for both regions remains below its levels in July 2013. Contracts in the Midwest fell 0.4 per cent last month and also lag behind the pace of a year ago.

Modest wage growth, which has barely run ahead of inflation, has hampered home sales. The Realtors forecast that roughly 5 million existing homes will be sold this year, down from 5.1 million in 2013.

But price growth, which had hurt affordability at the end of last year, has moderated in recent months.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 8.1 per cent in June from 12 months earlier, according to a report this week. Year-over-year price gains at the start of 2014 had averaged more than 13 per cent, according to the Case-Shiller index.

And while more homeowners have started to list their properties for sale, the ability of the real estate market to grow is limited.

That's largely due to the consequences of the housing bust that triggered the Great Recession at the end of 2007. Nearly 35 per cent of homeowners are still "effectively underwater" on their mortgages: They either have less than 20 per cent equity in their homes or they couldn't sell their properties and have enough money left for a down payment on another home, the online real estate firm Zillow said this week.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23833


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14543.82+56.99
S&P CDNX805.45-3.15
DJIA16805.41127.51
Nasdaq4483.715+30.923
S&P 5001964.58+13.76
CDN Dollar0.8901-0.0003
Gold1231.20+2.10
Oil81.02-0.73
Lumber336.40+6.80
Natural Gas3.631+0.009

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.105-0.005
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.15-0.02
Cantex0.07+0.015
Anavex Life Sciences0.194-0.004
Metalex Ventures0.045+0.005
Russel Metals33.39+0.23
Copper Mountain Mining2.03-0.05
Colorado Resources0.145+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.012-0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05-0.01
Mission Ready Services0.445+0.035

 





FEATURED Property
202582715686 Whiskey Cove Road
3 bedrooms 3 baths
$7,500,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


What I learned in China

Photo: ContributedI will never be an expert on China. It is just too big, too complex and too old with layers of history and meaning that would take several lifetimes to unravel. As I said to my hosts...


We can get on together

I was in LA this week. I witnessed such crazy and unusual circumstances as I strolled along Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd. A far cry from sleepy Peachland in the Okanagan! The strange thing was, I f...


Weakening global growth worries

The Big Picture Growth worries persist Worries about weakening global growth and its potential impact on the US economic recovery roiled markets around the globe this week. Europe continues to be the ...

_








Member of BC Press Council


23091