March may roar in like a lion, but March’s New Home Sales were more of a whimper as they unexpectedly fell by 11.4 percent. This was in stark contrast to February’s figures—which had returned the strongest performance in seven years. Unfortunately, the harsh winter that froze construction activity in January and February may not thaw performance for April’s and May’s sales figures.
On a brighter note, Existing Home Sales in March surged just over 6 percent from February—the largest monthly increase since December 2010. Sales are also up over 10 percent from a year ago. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTORS® chief economist, noted, “After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March.”
Also of note, Fannie Mae released its April 2015 Economic and Housing Outlook, revealing that economic activity slowed in the first quarter, largely due to West Coast port disruptions and difficult weather patterns gripping much of the Northeast. This was also reflected in the first reading for first quarter 2015 Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which fell to an anemic 0.2 percent. Now that spring has arrived, it will be important to see if economic activity blooms along with the weather.
Don’t forget that home loan rates continue to remain very attractive, making now a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Please let me know if you have any questions!