Pending house sales packed out a small gain as mortgage rates surged

March 30, 2023: In February, Higher mortgage rates took a few of the juice out of the housing development.

After a sharp gain, pending home sales increased just 0.8% month to month, the National Association of Realtors stated.

Sales were 21.1% lower than in February of the previous year. Pending sales are based on signing contracts during the month.

Mortgage speeds shot higher in February after dropping sharply in January. According to Mortgage News Daily, the average price on the famous 30-year mortgage started in February at nearly 6% and ended at just over 7%. That gave homebuyers considerably less purchase power.

Regionally sales increased monthly in every region except the West, which decreased by 2.4%. That is likely because the West is the priciest area for housing, and buyers there stretch the most to afford a home. Any surge in mortgage prices would have an outsized effect there.

“The affordable U.S. regions are leading the recovery,” Yun added. “Mortgage prices have improved in recent weeks after the federal government gave the guarantee the status of most mortgages from the uncertainty in the financial business,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors, stated.

“While access to retail mortgage loans could become increasingly difficult, residential mortgage loans are anticipated to be more readily available.”

Home prices have eased greatly since the previous summer, but housing is still expensive by historical standards.

Price drops may also have stalled in January because of the big jump in buyer demand. Real estate agents anecdotally stated more bidding wars in January, given a very short supply.

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