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New Fixed mortgage rates tick upward
Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.33% for the week ending April 24, up from last week's average of 4.27%, according to Freddie Mac. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.40%. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.39% this week, up from last week's average of 3.33%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.61%. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.44% this week, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 2.62%. For more, click here...

New Remodeling activity slows
Against the backdrop of unusually severe winter weather, the Remodeling Market Index (RMI) declined to 53 in the first quarter of 2014, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). This reading is down from the historically high level of 57 in the two most recent quarters, but remains above the key break-even point of 50. An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report it is lower. The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity. "Remodelers remain confident in the continued growth of the home improvement market," said NAHB Remodelers Chair Paul Sullivan, CAPS, CGR, CGP, of Waterville Valley, N.H. "As we head into spring, the gradual rise in home equity levels will continue to help clients better afford to remodel their homes." For more, click here...

March new home sales decline
U.S. sales of new, single-family houses in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 units, according to estimates released jointly by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 14.5% below the revised February estimate and 13.3% below the March 2013 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold in March was $290,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 193,000, representing a supply of 6.0 months at the current sales rate. For more, click here...

Mortgage applications decrease
Mortgage applications decreased 3.3% from a week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 18. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.3% from a week earlier. The refinance component of the index decreased 4%, and the purchase component of the index fell 3%. The refinance share of mortgage applications fell to 51% of total applications, from 52% the previous week. For more, click here...

Existing-home sales remained soft in March
Existing-home sales were essentially flat in March, while the growth in home prices moderated, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest were offset by declines in the West and the South. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in March. Sales were 7.5% below the pace of March 2013. Last month's sales volumes were the slowest since July 2012. The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $198,500, up 7.9% from March 2013. Total housing inventory at the end of March rose 4.7% to 1.99 million existing homes for sale, representing a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 5.0 months in February. The unsold inventory is 3.1% above a year ago, when there was a 4.7-month supply. For more, click here...

Housing starts post modest gain in March
U.S. housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 units in March, 2.8% higher than the revised February estimate but 5.9% below the March 2013 rate, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Single-family starts in March were at a rate of 635,000 units, 6.0% above the revised February figure. Housing units authorized by building permits were at a SAAR of 990,000 units, 2.4% below the revised February rate but 11.2% above the March 2013 estimate. For more, click here...

Builder confidence holds steady in April
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose 1 point to 47 in April, from a downwardly revised March reading of 46, on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. "Builder confidence has been in a holding pattern the past three months," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. "Looking ahead, as the spring buying season gets into full swing and demand increases, builders are expecting sales prospects to improve in the months ahead." For more, click here...

Canada's New Housing Price Index advances
Canada's New Housing Price Index rose 0.2% in February, following a 0.3% increase in January, according to Statistics Canada. The metropolitan area of Calgary was the top contributor to the February gain, with prices up 0.9% over the previous month. Builders reported that higher material and labor costs, market conditions, and the implementation of the new home warranty program in Alberta were the primary reasons for the increase. For more, click here...

March housing starts trend lower in Canada
Housing starts in Canada were trending at 184,476 units in March, compared to 191,126 in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts. The stand-alone monthly SAAR was 156,832 units in March, a decrease from 190,639 in February. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 18.8% in March to 142,502 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 25.5% to 87,372 units in March, while the single-detached urban starts segment decreased by 5.4% to 55,130 units. For more, click here...

February building permits decline in Canada
Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $C6.1 billion in February, down 11.6% from January, according to Statistics Canada. This decrease followed an 8.1% gain the previous month, and was mainly driven by lower construction intentions for multifamily dwellings in all provinces. For more, click here...

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


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