Sales of existing homes fell more than expected in February in the United States, buyers being put off by both still very high prices and rising interest rates. In February, 6.02 million houses and apartments changed hands, at an annualized rate, according to figures released Friday by the National Federation of American Realtors (NAR).
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This is much less than expected, since analysts anticipated 6.20 million sales. And that’s down 7.2% from January, and down 2.4% from February 2021. Buying a home remains tough right now.”because buyers are suffering a double blow: the rise in mortgage interest rates and the sustained rise in pricessaid Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, quoted in the statement. “Some who previously qualified for 3% are no longer able to purchase at 4%“, he adds, pointing out that “monthly payments increased by 28% compared to a year ago“.
The median house price continued its ascent, for the 120th month in a row, or 10 years, never seen, to reach 357,300 dollars, an increase of 15% compared to February 2021. Inventories, on the other hand, increased, and now represent 1.7 months at the current rate of sales, compared to 1.6 months in January. 30-year fixed-rate credit rose above 4% for the first time since May 2019, according to data released Thursday by U.S. home refinance giant Freddie Mac.
“With the Federal Reserve raising short-term rates and signaling further increases, mortgage rates are expected to continue to rise through the year“, had specified the firm. “Although demand for home purchases has moderated, it remains elevated due to low existing inventory, suggesting strong house price pressures will continue into the spring home buying season.“, also anticipates Freddie Mac.
The real estate market had experienced an unexpected boom during the Covid-19 pandemic thanks, in part, to historically low interest rates, which led to rising property prices and a scarcity of properties available for sale. .
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