Friday, September 23, 2011

Existing home sales spike

Existing home sales jumped in August, but it is likely just a temporary blip:
Sales of existing homes took an unexpected and rare jump in August, rising 7.7 percent from July. Realtors say it's the result of delayed sales from the spring market, which they previously characterized as disappointing. The results were unexpected because the usual indicators no longer apply.

Mortgage applications have been falling steadily, down again over four percent this week, even though interest rates are hovering near record lows. But mortgage volume doesn't tell us much because fewer buyers are using mortgages. 29 percent of home sales in August were all-cash purchases, largely by investors who returned to the market after a brief respite. 22 percent of buyers were investors, up from 18 percent in July. ...

The bump from leftover Spring sales does not appear to have much mojo heading into the Fall, given the dip in consumer confidence and a change in the conforming loan limits that will push some housing markets into the jumbo range next month. Sales contract cancellations also jumped, with 18 percent of Realtors surveyed reporting at least one canceled sale. That's up from 16 percent in July and a norm of around 4 percent.

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