Existing Home Sales Remain SubduedHome prices continued to show solid growth in most of the country due to limited inventory conditions, but rising prices and severe winter weather caused existing-home sales to slip. Total existing home sales, declined 0.43% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60 million from 4.62 million in the month before and 7.07% below the 4.95 million-unit level in February 2013. Last month's pace of sales was the lowest since July 2012, when it stood at 4.59 million.Existing Home Sales SummaryConditions in February were largely unchanged month over month. We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago» [read more]

 

New Housing Starts Fall Slightly Amid Winter Slow DownUnusually cold weather chilled new-home construction in February, though underlying data signals a possible spring rebound. US housing starts decreased 0.22% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The slight decline came after starts tumbled more than 11% in January, though that month's pace was revised up from the previous estimate.New Housing Starts Fall Slightly Amid Winter Slow DownBuilding permits, a sign of future construction typically influenced less by weather, advanced 7.73% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.018 million last month. That was the best monthly gain since April. The pace of starts and permits were both above economists' expectations» [read more]

 

First Time Home Buyers Limited By Student DebtFirst-time buyers accounted for 28% of purchases in February, up from 26% last month, but down from 30% in February 2013. Student debt appears to be a factor in the weak level of first-time buyers. The biggest problems for first-time buyers are tight credit and limited inventory in the lower price range.Character Of The MarketHowever, 20% of buyers under the age of 33, the prime group of first-time buyers, delayed their purchase because of outstanding debt. In a recent consumer survey, 56% of younger buyers who took longer to save for down payment identified student debt as the biggest obstacle.» [read more]