Like The Herald Business Journal on Facebook!
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Heraldnet.com

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Publisher
Phone: 425-339-3007
joconnor@heraldnet.com

Jody Knoblich
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049
jknoblich@heraldnet.com

Jim Davis
Editor
Phone: 425-339-3097
jdavis@heraldnet.com

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

U.S. home sales reach 6˝-year high in August

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
Associated Press
Published:
WASHINGTON -- U.S. home sales rose last month to the highest level since February 2007 as buyers rushed to close deals before interest rates increased further.
Sales of previously occupied homes rose 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in August, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That level is consistent with a healthy market.
August sales reflect contracts signed in June and July, when mortgage rates were rising steadily. The Realtors' group cautioned that buyer traffic dropped off significantly in August. That means sales could slow in the months ahead.
Higher rates will also likely depress sales next year, the Realtors' said. The group forecasts that sales will average 5.2 million in 2014.
Home prices rose as the supply of available homes remained tight. There were 2.25 million homes for sale last month, down 6 percent from a year earlier.
Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have fueled a recovery in housing since early last year. But rates have risen since May and have begun to restrain housing's rebound.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.57 percent last week, more than a full percentage point higher than in May. That's when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the Fed could soon scale back its $85-billion-a-month bond purchase program, which is intended to keep interest rates low.
On Wednesday, the Fed decided against reducing its purchases. It said one key reason for its decision was the sharp increase in mortgage and other interest rates. Pulling back on its bond purchases could have sent such rates even higher.
Many economists say the housing recovery should withstand the recent rate increase. Mortgage rates are still quite low by historical standards.
Last month, builders broke ground on the most single-family homes since February and sought the most permits to build those homes in more than five years.
Homebuilder confidence remained at its highest level in nearly eight years in September, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders. But builders are starting to worry that sales may slow in coming months if rates keep rising, the survey found.

MORE HBJ HEADLINES

CALENDAR

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

Market roundup