January Pending Home Sales Bump Higher

The concern lifted slightly that the real estate market may have topped-off as pending home sales climbed 4.5% higher in January from December 2018. But compared to January 2018, the number was 2.3% lower.

The National Association of Realtors [NAR] attributed the bump to the reopening of the government after its temporary shutdown. Still, the economy continued its robust growth as documented by the addition of over 300,000 new jobs created in January 2019. Also, inventories in many areas saw a surge in new listings. In Ocean County, New Jersey, there was a burst of 25% in the number of new listings, from 1,001, to 1,254 year-to-year. Closed sales also climbed higher by 12.5% from 477 to 534.  (https://bit.ly/2tH1gxd)

Right now there is a healthy mix of buyers and sellers, with neither one seeing a big advantage. Inventories have risen, mortgage rates have fallen, and buyers are looking to jump into the market before the traditional hot spring selling season begins.

Bullet Points from CNBC
■  Pending home sales, a measure of signed contracts to buy existing homes, increased 4.6 percent in January compared with December, according to a monthly survey from the National Association of Realtors. Contracts, however, were still 2.3 percent lower compared with a year ago.

■  “A change in Federal Reserve policy and the reopening of the government were very beneficial to the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.
■  In January, when these contracts were signed, the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage hit a low of 4.43 percent, according to Mortgage News Daily.

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Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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