Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence
The major averages enter the final hour with modest gains despite disappointing data. Mortgage activity slipped again as per the Mortgage Bankers Association it’s index fell 6.6% last week with refis down 7.1% and purchase apps dropping 6.2%. The 30-year contract rate for a jumbo loan increased again hitting 4.62%. Higher interest rates are definitely starting to bite home sales. Historically real estate tends to lead the economy into and out of recessions.
Existing home sales fell markedly for a 2nd consecutive month in January falling 3.2% to 5.38 million units annualized. On a regional basis the Midwest fell 6%, followed by a 5% decline in the West as the region marked a 3rd consecutive sales decline. Month’s supply increased to 3.4, still very low by historical standards. The median price slipped 2.4% for the month hitting a 10-month low of $240,500 but remains 5.8% higher than a year ago. Not yet a negative trend, were getting uncomfortably close, same is true for rising consumer credit delinquency rates.