Weekly mortgage applications fall as the highest rates in a month are spooking spring buyers

Applications to refinance a home loan, which are most sensitive to interest rates, fell 11% for the week but were nearly 13% higher than a year ago. Mortgage rates were a significant 27 basis points higher last year. Mortgage applications to purchase a home, which had been holding strong amid higher rates, fell 4% for the week. “The strong economy and job market is keeping buyer interest high, but rising mortgage rates could add pressure to the budgets of some would-be buyers,” Fratantoni said.


Applications to refinance a home loan, which are most sensitive to interest rates, fell 11% for the week but were nearly 13% higher than a year ago. Mortgage rates were a significant 27 basis points higher last year. Mortgage applications to purchase a home, which had been holding strong amid higher rates, fell 4% for the week. “The strong economy and job market is keeping buyer interest high, but rising mortgage rates could add pressure to the budgets of some would-be buyers,” Fratantoni said.
Weekly mortgage applications fall as the highest rates in a month are spooking spring buyers Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-24  Authors: diana olick, daniel acker, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, month, sensitive, applications, week, spooking, fall, rate, weekly, buyers, highest, spring, higher, interest, rates, homes, sales, mortgage, points


Weekly mortgage applications fall as the highest rates in a month are spooking spring buyers

Homebuyers had been brushing off the slight rise in rates during recent weeks, but as those rates move even higher, pruchasers are now pulling back.

Overall mortgage application volume fell 7.3% last week from the previous week, but it was 6.6% higher than a year ago, thanks to stronger refinance volume, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 4.46% from 4.44%, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. The rate has risen 10 basis points in the past three weeks and is now at its highest level in over a month.

“Borrowers remain extremely sensitive to rate changes,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA senior vice president and chief economist. “Borrowing costs have recently drifted higher because of ebbing geopolitical concerns, as well as signs of strengthening in the U.S. economy, including the recent data pointing to robust retail sales.”

Applications to refinance a home loan, which are most sensitive to interest rates, fell 11% for the week but were nearly 13% higher than a year ago. Mortgage rates were a significant 27 basis points higher last year.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home, which had been holding strong amid higher rates, fell 4% for the week. They were still 3% higher than a year ago, but that annual comparison is shrinking. Purchase applications should be strengthening as the spring season progresses and the supply of homes for sale rises.

Supply was up 2.4% annually at the end of March, according to the National Association of Realtors, but much of that increase is not from more new listings. Instead, listings are sitting for a longer time and piling up.

“The strong economy and job market is keeping buyer interest high, but rising mortgage rates could add pressure to the budgets of some would-be buyers,” Fratantoni said.

Recent home sales reports are showing just how sensitive today’s buyers are. Sales of existing homes in March, which are based on closings and therefore contracts signed in January and February, were disappointing. Sales of newly built homes, however, were stronger than expected, but those numbers are based on contracts signed in March, not closings.

Mortgage rates took a steep dive in March, and that likely juiced sales. With rates now higher again, sales could falter.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-24  Authors: diana olick, daniel acker, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, month, sensitive, applications, week, spooking, fall, rate, weekly, buyers, highest, spring, higher, interest, rates, homes, sales, mortgage, points


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Brexit and trade tensions having an impact on Irish growth, finance minister says

Brexit and trade tensions having an impact on Irish growth, finance minister says5 Hours AgoPresident Donald Trump’s comments about the transatlantic relationship between the EU and U.S. are ‘a concern’ for Ireland, whose small and open economy is already being impacted by global trade tensions and Brexit, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche during the IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.


Brexit and trade tensions having an impact on Irish growth, finance minister says5 Hours AgoPresident Donald Trump’s comments about the transatlantic relationship between the EU and U.S. are ‘a concern’ for Ireland, whose small and open economy is already being impacted by global trade tensions and Brexit, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche during the IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.
Brexit and trade tensions having an impact on Irish growth, finance minister says Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-14  Authors: paul faith, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, brexit, minister, tensions, growth, washington, impact, trumps, transatlantic, told, spring, trade, having, finance, irish


Brexit and trade tensions having an impact on Irish growth, finance minister says

Brexit and trade tensions having an impact on Irish growth, finance minister says

5 Hours Ago

President Donald Trump’s comments about the transatlantic relationship between the EU and U.S. are ‘a concern’ for Ireland, whose small and open economy is already being impacted by global trade tensions and Brexit, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche during the IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-14  Authors: paul faith, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, brexit, minister, tensions, growth, washington, impact, trumps, transatlantic, told, spring, trade, having, finance, irish


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Ireland is adequately prepared for a disorderly Brexit, finance minister says

Ireland is adequately prepared for a disorderly Brexit, finance minister says7 Hours AgoThe U.K.’s recently-granted Brexit extension is seen as a positive development in Ireland, but the government is encouraging Irish companies to make all necessary preparations to cope with a potential disorderly Brexit, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche during the IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.


Ireland is adequately prepared for a disorderly Brexit, finance minister says7 Hours AgoThe U.K.’s recently-granted Brexit extension is seen as a positive development in Ireland, but the government is encouraging Irish companies to make all necessary preparations to cope with a potential disorderly Brexit, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche during the IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.
Ireland is adequately prepared for a disorderly Brexit, finance minister says Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-14  Authors: niall carson, pa images, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, prepared, minister, brexit, told, ireland, adequately, spring, uks, washington, finance, disorderly, irish


Ireland is adequately prepared for a disorderly Brexit, finance minister says

Ireland is adequately prepared for a disorderly Brexit, finance minister says

7 Hours Ago

The U.K.’s recently-granted Brexit extension is seen as a positive development in Ireland, but the government is encouraging Irish companies to make all necessary preparations to cope with a potential disorderly Brexit, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche during the IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-14  Authors: niall carson, pa images, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, prepared, minister, brexit, told, ireland, adequately, spring, uks, washington, finance, disorderly, irish


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I owed the IRS after making this tax mistake in college

Here’s what to do if you can’t pay your taxes on time 3:35 PM ET Mon, 1 April 2019 | 01:09I’ve been filing taxes since I was in high school. But during my junior year in college in the fall of 2017, I received something strange in the mail: a 1099-MISC form, a tax document that details payments made to independent contractors. This slip of paper broke out the details on the $1,500 I earned during an internship at a local newspaper in Champaign, Illinois, that summer. The IRS also had a surprise


Here’s what to do if you can’t pay your taxes on time 3:35 PM ET Mon, 1 April 2019 | 01:09I’ve been filing taxes since I was in high school. But during my junior year in college in the fall of 2017, I received something strange in the mail: a 1099-MISC form, a tax document that details payments made to independent contractors. This slip of paper broke out the details on the $1,500 I earned during an internship at a local newspaper in Champaign, Illinois, that summer. The IRS also had a surprise
I owed the IRS after making this tax mistake in college Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-10  Authors: jessica bursztynsky, davidf, getty images, simonkr, ariel skelley, digitalvision, alys tomlinson, -sean stein smith, american institute of cpas financial literacy comm
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, irs, spring, store, tough, college, surprise, strange, slip, taxes, making, owed, summerthe, details, tax, mistake


I owed the IRS after making this tax mistake in college

Here’s what to do if you can’t pay your taxes on time 3:35 PM ET Mon, 1 April 2019 | 01:09

I’ve been filing taxes since I was in high school.

But during my junior year in college in the fall of 2017, I received something strange in the mail: a 1099-MISC form, a tax document that details payments made to independent contractors.

This slip of paper broke out the details on the $1,500 I earned during an internship at a local newspaper in Champaign, Illinois, that summer.

The IRS also had a surprise in store when I filed during the spring of 2018: a tax bill of nearly $200.

It was a tough personal finance lesson, and I’m probably not the first to learn it.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-10  Authors: jessica bursztynsky, davidf, getty images, simonkr, ariel skelley, digitalvision, alys tomlinson, -sean stein smith, american institute of cpas financial literacy comm
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, irs, spring, store, tough, college, surprise, strange, slip, taxes, making, owed, summerthe, details, tax, mistake


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Burlington Stores could be the next retailer to rebound, Jim Cramer says

Burlington could be next retailer to rebound: Cramer 9 Hours Ago | 02:20Burlington Stores could be the next retailer to rebound, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday. He compared Burlington to Home Depot, the shares of which also plummeted after disappointing fourth-quarter earnings and sales. The home improvement retailer said a bad weather during the three-month span cut into foot traffic and, in turn, sales at its stores. Cramer expects the company to illustrate that spring weather will be a boost f


Burlington could be next retailer to rebound: Cramer 9 Hours Ago | 02:20Burlington Stores could be the next retailer to rebound, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday. He compared Burlington to Home Depot, the shares of which also plummeted after disappointing fourth-quarter earnings and sales. The home improvement retailer said a bad weather during the three-month span cut into foot traffic and, in turn, sales at its stores. Cramer expects the company to illustrate that spring weather will be a boost f
Burlington Stores could be the next retailer to rebound, Jim Cramer says Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-05  Authors: tyler clifford
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, sales, stock, rebound, earnings, cramer, burlington, stores, shares, retailer, spring, jim


Burlington Stores could be the next retailer to rebound, Jim Cramer says

Burlington could be next retailer to rebound: Cramer 9 Hours Ago | 02:20

Burlington Stores could be the next retailer to rebound, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.

The stock was crushed, plunging 16%, after a rare sales miss in its most recent earnings results. Cramer pointed out that the March report marked the first time in 24-consecutive quarters that same-store-sales growth did not meet estimates.

“I think you should buy this stock ahead of … Wednesday, when I expect everyone to hear that Burlington’s issues have been cleared up,” the “Mad Money” host said.

Burlington’s “mea culpa was overdone” on the earnings call, Cramer said. He compared Burlington to Home Depot, the shares of which also plummeted after disappointing fourth-quarter earnings and sales.

The home improvement retailer said a bad weather during the three-month span cut into foot traffic and, in turn, sales at its stores. Shares of Home Depot have since recovered those losses and risen above its February levels, climbing more than 18% in 2019.

Burlington looks to be in a similar position, Cramer said. Despite weak sales in its women’s apparel and winter inventories, other items sold as according to plan, he said.

With spring in full swing, investors will forget the winter ailments that plagued some of the best merchants out there, he added.

“[CEO Tom] Kingsbury’s got a fantastic team and I don’t think they’re gonna repeat whatever fashion mistakes they made last quarter. They’re too talented to mess up the same way twice,” Cramer said.

Kingsbury has helmed the company for more than a decade.

Furthermore, Burlington is sending representatives to give a Wednesday presentation at JP Morgan Chase’s annual Boss’ Retail Round-Up Conference, the host noted. Cramer expects the company to illustrate that spring weather will be a boost for its stores.

“If that happens, the stock would rebound like a coiled spring from these levels,” he said. “I really like the risk-reward here. Burlington Stores is a great company that deserves the benefit of the doubt after its brief stumble.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Home Depot.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-05  Authors: tyler clifford
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, sales, stock, rebound, earnings, cramer, burlington, stores, shares, retailer, spring, jim


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Flights to Europe are cheaper than they’ve been in years—here’s where to go to get the best deals

Now is the time to make those daydreams of traveling to Europe a reality. That’s because flights to Europe are the cheapest they’ve been in three years, according to travel app Hopper. Prices on flights from the U.S. are currently averaging $637 roundtrip, which is down 15 percent from this time last year. Across Europe, if you travel in March, April or May, fares are 20 percent cheaper on average, compared to the summer months of June, July and August. Traveling in late spring will not only sav


Now is the time to make those daydreams of traveling to Europe a reality. That’s because flights to Europe are the cheapest they’ve been in three years, according to travel app Hopper. Prices on flights from the U.S. are currently averaging $637 roundtrip, which is down 15 percent from this time last year. Across Europe, if you travel in March, April or May, fares are 20 percent cheaper on average, compared to the summer months of June, July and August. Traveling in late spring will not only sav
Flights to Europe are cheaper than they’ve been in years—here’s where to go to get the best deals Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-28  Authors: megan leonhardt, nick dolding, digitalvision, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, spring, youll, high, theyve, deals, wide, season, flights, travel, europe, cheaper, best, yearsheres, summer, corwin


Flights to Europe are cheaper than they've been in years—here's where to go to get the best deals

Dreaming of strolling along the wide avenues in Paris or eating pastas in Rome? Now is the time to make those daydreams of traveling to Europe a reality.

That’s because flights to Europe are the cheapest they’ve been in three years, according to travel app Hopper.

Prices on flights from the U.S. are currently averaging $637 roundtrip, which is down 15 percent from this time last year. Across Europe, if you travel in March, April or May, fares are 20 percent cheaper on average, compared to the summer months of June, July and August.

Traveling in late spring will not only save you money on flights, but on lodging and other travel costs as well. In fact, May is the best time of year to go if you want to spend less on your trip than you would during the summer high season, Liana Corwin, Hopper’s consumer travel expert, tells CNBC Make It.

“Early May is still considered ‘low season’ in many destinations, which means you’ll also be able to scoop up hotel rooms and attractions at a fraction of the high season cost through most of the spring,” Corwin says.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-28  Authors: megan leonhardt, nick dolding, digitalvision, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, spring, youll, high, theyve, deals, wide, season, flights, travel, europe, cheaper, best, yearsheres, summer, corwin


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Cramer: Blooming season has come for Home Depot, Lowe’s, Lennar, and D.R. Horton

So he’s throwing his faith behind Lennar, the leading homebuilder, and DR Horton, the top affordable homebuilder. “We got a very good number just this evening from KB [Home] and they are predicting a very good spring selling season.” Poor weather made it tough to build homes, as illustrated in the fourth-quarter earnings of home improvement retail rivals Home Depot and Lowe’s, Cramer said. Tuesday’s housing data pressured Home Depot and Lowe’s stocks, which fell 0.18 percent and 0.07 percent, re


So he’s throwing his faith behind Lennar, the leading homebuilder, and DR Horton, the top affordable homebuilder. “We got a very good number just this evening from KB [Home] and they are predicting a very good spring selling season.” Poor weather made it tough to build homes, as illustrated in the fourth-quarter earnings of home improvement retail rivals Home Depot and Lowe’s, Cramer said. Tuesday’s housing data pressured Home Depot and Lowe’s stocks, which fell 0.18 percent and 0.07 percent, re
Cramer: Blooming season has come for Home Depot, Lowe’s, Lennar, and D.R. Horton Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-26  Authors: tyler clifford
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, selling, season, come, spring, stocks, cramer, think, lowes, weather, housing, tax, depot, lennar, dr, blooming, horton


Cramer: Blooming season has come for Home Depot, Lowe's, Lennar, and D.R. Horton

CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday said investors should not panic about February’s “truly pathetic” housing starts number because the market is primed to bounce back.

Single-family home construction declined 8.7 percent last month to a 1-1/2-year low, but housing forecasts are looking better as mortgage rates decrease. The housing market is not flashing recession signals, he said.

“Don’t be afraid of the hideous housing numbers. Be aware that this is a natural decline, which I think will be followed by an advance that you can profit from as housing enjoys its annual spring rebound,” the “Mad Money” host said.

Cramer predicted home building will be stronger in March. The Federal Reserve’s rate hike in December, despite Cramer’s objections, made home prices and mortgages more affordable, and raw materials costs have fallen faster than housing prices, he said. The decrease on 10-year Treasury yields is also a “godsend for the industry,” he added.

So he’s throwing his faith behind Lennar, the leading homebuilder, and DR Horton, the top affordable homebuilder. The respective stocks are up 25 percent and 18 percent this year.

“But they remain incredibly cheap on a price-to-earnings basis and I bet they could be huge beneficiaries of pent up demand now that we’ve put the bad weather behind us,” he said. “We got a very good number just this evening from KB [Home] and they are predicting a very good spring selling season.”

Poor weather made it tough to build homes, as illustrated in the fourth-quarter earnings of home improvement retail rivals Home Depot and Lowe’s, Cramer said. Restrictive zoning laws across the country, notably in the San Francisco Bay area, have led to construction constraints and higher home values. Other factors to consider, he added, are the removal of state and local tax deductions from federal tax returns, lower housing affordability and high student debt pushing more young adults to live at home with their parents.

Tuesday’s housing data pressured Home Depot and Lowe’s stocks, which fell 0.18 percent and 0.07 percent, respectively, during the session. Cramer pointed out it’s blooming season and Lowe’s is becoming more competitive with Home Depot.

“I think they’re both worth buying into weakness—anyone selling these two stocks here I think maybe get their head checked,” he said. “Because we’re going into the outdoor season right now, which is Christmas time for these companies as people start spending a lot of money on gardening and, of course, outdoor furniture and grilling.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-26  Authors: tyler clifford
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, selling, season, come, spring, stocks, cramer, think, lowes, weather, housing, tax, depot, lennar, dr, blooming, horton


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US, South Korea end spring military drills to back diplomacy

South Korea and the U.S. are eliminating their massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises in what they call an effort to support diplomacy aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis. The drills’ cancellation is an olive branch to North Korea, which has viewed them as an invasion rehearsal. The Pentagon said in a release that the U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs decided to conclude the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises. Jeong expressed hi


South Korea and the U.S. are eliminating their massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises in what they call an effort to support diplomacy aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis. The drills’ cancellation is an olive branch to North Korea, which has viewed them as an invasion rehearsal. The Pentagon said in a release that the U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs decided to conclude the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises. Jeong expressed hi
US, South Korea end spring military drills to back diplomacy Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-03  Authors: ed jones, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, diplomacy, spring, drills, summit, north, military, statement, korea, end, korean, exercises, defense, training, south


US, South Korea end spring military drills to back diplomacy

South Korea and the U.S. are eliminating their massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises in what they call an effort to support diplomacy aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis.

The decision announced by both countries Sunday came after President Donald Trump complained about the cost of joint drills even as his high-stakes second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed last week.

The drills’ cancellation is an olive branch to North Korea, which has viewed them as an invasion rehearsal. But some experts say it will likely weaken the allies’ military readiness amid worries that tensions erupt again in the wake of the failed nuclear summit in Vietnam.

The Pentagon said in a release that the U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs decided to conclude the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises. It said the allies agreed to maintain firm military readiness through newly designed command post exercises and revised field training programs.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo “made clear that the alliance decision to adapt our training program reflected our desire to reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a final, fully verified manner,” the statement said.

Seoul’s Defense Ministry released a similar statement.

Jeong expressed his regrets at the lack of agreement at the Trump-Kim summit but still hopes that Washington and Pyongyang will continue negotiations, the South Korean statement said.

The new training, dubbed “Dong Maeng,” which means “alliance” in English, starts Monday and runs through March 12. It will focus on “strategic operational and tactical aspects of general military operations on the Korean Peninsula,” South Korea’s military and the U.S.-South Korean combined forces command said in a joint statement.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-03  Authors: ed jones, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, diplomacy, spring, drills, summit, north, military, statement, korea, end, korean, exercises, defense, training, south


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Slowest home sales in over three years could help buyers this spring

Lower mortgage rates should have given home sales a boost in January, but they did not. That is why sales of homes priced below $100,000 were nearly 15 percent lower compared with a year ago, while sales of homes priced above $750,000 were just 2 percent lower. Lower mortgage rates also helped sentiment. After spiking in September, mortgage rates began falling in November and fell even more sharply in December. Most analysts think the recent drop in mortgage interest rates will bring more buyers


Lower mortgage rates should have given home sales a boost in January, but they did not. That is why sales of homes priced below $100,000 were nearly 15 percent lower compared with a year ago, while sales of homes priced above $750,000 were just 2 percent lower. Lower mortgage rates also helped sentiment. After spiking in September, mortgage rates began falling in November and fell even more sharply in December. Most analysts think the recent drop in mortgage interest rates will bring more buyers
Slowest home sales in over three years could help buyers this spring Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-21  Authors: diana olick, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, slowest, help, homes, buyers, compared, sales, prices, housing, spring, market, mortgage, lower, rates


Slowest home sales in over three years could help buyers this spring

Lower mortgage rates should have given home sales a boost in January, but they did not. Sales of existing homes fell 1.2 percent to their lowest level in three years compared with December and were a wider 8.5 percent lower annually, according to the National Association of Realtors.

That could be good news for buyers seeking relative bargains in the spring.

Real estate agents and analysts have long been blaming weak sales on too few listings and rising rates — but supply has been rising steadily for several months and rates have been falling. Total housing inventory at the end of January increased to 1.59 million, up from 1.53 million homes for sale in December. Supply is also up from 1.52 million a year ago.

Home prices are still higher compared to a year ago. The median price of an existing home sold in January was $247,500. But that is just 2.8 percent higher compared with January 2018, the smallest annual gain since February 2012.

“Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. “Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”

But here’s the rub: The supply of affordable homes for sale is not increasing quickly enough. That is why sales of homes priced below $100,000 were nearly 15 percent lower compared with a year ago, while sales of homes priced above $750,000 were just 2 percent lower.

Homebuilders are still not ramping up production enough to meet demand, especially in the entry-level market. Sales of newly built homes, which come at a price premium to existing homes, were weak for much of last year.

Builders are starting to see more traffic through models, as they lower some prices and offer more concessions. But they are still finding it hard to build cheaper homes.

“Rising costs stemming from excessive regulations, a dearth of buildable lots, a persistent labor shortage and tariffs on lumber and other key building materials continue to make it increasingly difficult to produce housing at affordable price points,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

Builder sentiment rose in February overall, as buyer traffic and sales expectations for the next six months saw significant gains, according to the NAHB. Lower mortgage rates also helped sentiment.

After spiking in September, mortgage rates began falling in November and fell even more sharply in December. They are now at the lowest rate in a year.

Most analysts think the recent drop in mortgage interest rates will bring more buyers back to the market. But home prices are still high, due to the sharp run-up after the recession.

That has kept some first-time buyers sidelined. They represented just 29 percent of existing home sales in January, compared with 32 percent in December. Historically, first-time buyers represent about 40 percent of home sales.

“If mortgage rates stay close to these new lower levels, then the hit to affordability from rising rates will be reduced – and the positive impacts of the job market and demographics should flow through to stronger housing demand,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide.

Lower mortgage rates, combined with slower home price appreciation, are bringing the housing market out of its recent overheating and into a more moderate environment with respect to the rest of the economy.

“Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months,” said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-21  Authors: diana olick, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, slowest, help, homes, buyers, compared, sales, prices, housing, spring, market, mortgage, lower, rates


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Weekly mortgage applications rise 3.6%, a sign of hope for the spring homebuying season

Mortgage application volume increased 3.6 percent last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Applications to purchase a home increased 2 percent for the week — the first uptick in a month — a sign of optimism in the housing market. “After four consecutive declines, purchase applications increased almost 2 percent over the week and 2.5 percent compared to a year ago — showing some promise as we edge closer to the spring homebuying


Mortgage application volume increased 3.6 percent last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Applications to purchase a home increased 2 percent for the week — the first uptick in a month — a sign of optimism in the housing market. “After four consecutive declines, purchase applications increased almost 2 percent over the week and 2.5 percent compared to a year ago — showing some promise as we edge closer to the spring homebuying
Weekly mortgage applications rise 3.6%, a sign of hope for the spring homebuying season Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-20  Authors: lisa rizzolo, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, spring, rate, season, 36, homebuying, rise, mortgage, hope, according, sign, increased, volume, weekly, applications, singlefamily, week, sales, traffic


Weekly mortgage applications rise 3.6%, a sign of hope for the spring homebuying season

Mortgage application volume increased 3.6 percent last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

Applications to purchase a home increased 2 percent for the week — the first uptick in a month — a sign of optimism in the housing market.

“After four consecutive declines, purchase applications increased almost 2 percent over the week and 2.5 percent compared to a year ago — showing some promise as we edge closer to the spring homebuying season,” said Joel Kan, MBA associate vice president.

Some real estate agents have reported surprise at better-than-expected traffic at open houses this month, and the new numbers seem to confirm those perceptions.

Still, overall volume was 2.3 percent lower than a year ago.

The biggest boost came from applications to refinance a home loan, which are far more sensitive to weekly interest rate moves. The 30-year fixed rate was essentially unchanged at 4.66 percent. Homeowners clearly saw an opportunity, as refinance applications increased 6 percent from the previous week. They were 8 percent lower than a year ago.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) increased to 4.56 percent from 4.48 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The positive numbers in mortgage application volume are in line with this month’s homebuilder sentiment, which rose 4 points, according to a monthly survey from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. That index showed an increase in buyer traffic, sales expectations and current sales conditions in February.

Builders still point to a concern in affordability, however, which is at a 10-year low, according to the index’s data. There continues to be a critical shortage of affordable single-family homes for sale.

“Ongoing job creation and solid household formations will keep demand firm, but builders will continue to grapple with supply-side headwinds that will dampen more vigorous growth in the single-family sector,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-20  Authors: lisa rizzolo, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, spring, rate, season, 36, homebuying, rise, mortgage, hope, according, sign, increased, volume, weekly, applications, singlefamily, week, sales, traffic


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