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DS News Webcast: Friday 5/23/2014

For the first time in 2014, existing-home sales and total inventory increased in April, while home price growth moderated. According to the National Association of Realtors, total existing-home sales, which the group defines as single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, rose 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million in April 2014. The group attributed the April growth to an inevitable rebound after a poor first quarter, as well as an improvement in inventory expanding choices and sales.

Total housing inventory as of the end of April rose 16.8 percent to 2.2 million, according to NAR. The inventory at the end of April represented a near 6 month supply, up from a 5 month supply in March. Properties, on average, were on the market for 48 days in April, down slightly from 55 days in March. Regionally, existing-home sales were unchanged in the Northeast, rose slightly in the South and West, and fell in the Midwest.

Mortgage rates have yet to find their bottom in 2014, dropping again this week to their lowest level since last October. In its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.14 percent, down from 4.2 percent last week. Analysts at Bankrate.com pointed to economic concerns over low inflation as well as disappointing readings on the housing markets as key reasons for interest rates remaining lower than expected.

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