While the country was braving frigid temperatures during the polar vortex, new home sales were on fire.
The Mortgage Bankers Association reported a substantial increase in sales of newly built homes last month. The Builder Application Survey (BAS) conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates sales increased by over 40 percent compared to December 2018 and were at the the same pace as January 2018. As noted in Mortgage News Daily, Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting said, "After two lackluster months, new home sales surged almost 30 percent in January to the fastest pace since our survey began in 2013. The healthy job market, faster wage growth, moderating price gains and lower mortgage rates all helped home sales recover. Additionally, builders seem to be seeing improvement in their labor shortages, as government survey data showed increases in construction hiring and openings in December." This is great news amid recent nervousness over what appeared to be a slowing housing market in the final months of 2018.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release their Existing-Home Sales data for January 2019 on Thursday, February 21. If the data is strong, we could be in for a brisk housing market in 2019, especially if mortgage rates remain in the mid-4% range and the labor market continues to strengthen.
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