New Home Sales blossomed in March reaching their highest level in nearly a year, the Commerce Department reported. Sales were up 5.8 percent from February and nearly 16 percent from a year ago. New home inventories edged lower to a 5.2-month supply in March. A six-month supply is considered “normal” inventory.
Existing Home Sales hit their highest pace in over 10 years in March, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, with sales climbing 4.4 percent from February and 5.9 percent above a year ago. However, existing home demand continues to outweigh supply with inventories down 6.6 percent from the same time last year.
New home construction didn’t fare as well. Inclement weather during March in the Midwest and Northeast chilled residential home construction after unseasonably warm weather in February. March Housing Start numbers fell nearly 7 percent from February, per the Commerce Department. The year-over-year picture was still rosy, however, with Housing Starts up 9 percent from March 2016 to March 2017.
Economy, Markets Thunder Along
The first reading on first quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was anything but rosy, as GDP came in at 0.7 percent. This was below the 1.1 percent expected and below the 2.1 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016.
GDP is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. It is considered the broadest measure of economic activity. Typically, readings of 2.5 to 3 percent signal strong economic growth.
April also brought uncertainty over the tensions surrounding global events, causing investors to move their money into the safer haven of the Bond markets. This helped home loan rates, which are tied to Mortgage Bonds, hit their best levels of 2017. Stocks around the world also benefited after the French presidential elections in April ignited a global rally.
Despite the volatility, home loan rates remain in attractive territory and still provide many opportunities for homebuyers and homeowners considering a refinance.