BY FRED ARNOLD
Without much to go on, the stock market has traded within a fairly narrow range this week. Corporate earnings, which are being released daily, are coming out with few surprises. It was reported at 8:30am Friday that GDP grew 2.5% for the first quarter of 2013. This increase was more than most experts predicted. More importantly, it shows that the country is continuing to get back to consistent economic growth.
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When it comes to the real estate market, we have a growing divide between the "haves" and "don't haves". Existing homes sales unexpectedly declined .6% in March. The number of existing homes coming on the market for sale has been somewhat stagnant. This stagnation bodes well for the homeowners who do place their homes for sale. Not only are homes selling quickly, but prices are rising rapidly in many parts of the country. The median home price jumped 6.2% from February, which is one of the largest increases we have seen since 2005.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which relies on data, provided from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on single-family homes reported that home prices increased .7% in March. This follows a 0.6% rise in February.
Housing Market Report
Home prices are up 7.1% from the same time last year. New home sales rose 1.5 percent in March, which follows an unusually weak month in February. The challenge of low housing supply is partially due to tight credit available for builders in residential construction to launch new projects.
Mortgage rates have been declining in recent weeks on account of most of the economic data coming out has been without surprise. In fact, some reports have been weaker than expected which has been making investors jittery about making big bets in the stock market. Many investors have been pulling back on their trading activity and placing money in the safety of government bonds which drives down mortgage rates. This week the 15 year fixed hit an all-time new record low.
The employment sector seems to once again be on the path to improvement. After a few weeks of first time jobless claims rising and even coming close the 400,000 level, last week's claims dropped down to 339,000. This is the lowest level since early March and the trend seems to be continuing to improve as of late. Next week Friday May 3rd the national unemployment rate will be released.
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The economic reports on tap for next week are:
Tuesday April 30th- S&P Case-Shiller Home Value Index and Consumer Confidence
Wednesday May 1st- ADP Employment Report, MBA Applications & Construction Spending
Thursday May 2nd- First Time Jobless Claims
Friday May 3rd- National Unemployment
As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate information. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can, 661-505-4300 .