Latest Existing Home Sales

Below is a copy of an article on CNBC about this mornings Existing Home Sales.  This is a national report and not a report for the Northwoods or Vilas / Oneida County.  Stay tuned for an update of the Northwoods activity by Eliason Realty of the North.

U.S. home re-sales fell in March but the supply of properties on the market tightened and prices inched higher, while the Philly Fed Index fell and the Index of Leading Indicators rose.

Sold sign

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday that existing home sales slipped 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.48 million units last month.

However, February's sales pace was revised slightly higher to 4.60 million units from the previously reported 4.59 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales at a 4.62 million-unit sales pace last month.

And in a sign that the nation's glut of unsold homes was easing, inventories fell to 2.37 million. Realtors in some markets have reported shortages of housing stock, the NAR said.

Nationwide, the median price for a home resale rose to $163,800 in March, up 2.5 percent from a year earlier.

Distressed sales accounted for 29 percent of re-sales, down from 34 percent in February, the NAR said.

Meanwhile, a gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose in March to the highest level in nearly four years, according to an industry survey on Thursday that suggested continued momentum in the economy even as job growth is slowing.

The group's Leading Economic Index increased 0.3 percent to 95.7, the highest level since June 2008, after advancing 0.7 percent in February. March marked the sixth straight month of gains in the index.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to increase 0.2 percent.

"Despite relatively weak data on jobs, home building and output in the past month or two, the indicators signal continued economic momentum. We expect a gradual improvement in growth past the summer months," said Ken Goldstein an economist at the Conference Board.

Employment growth slowed in March, with employers adding 120,000 new jobs to their payrolls, the smallest amount in five months. In addition, new applications for state unemployment benefits have been rising in recent weeks.

A separate survey released on Thursday showed that the pace of factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region waned in April for the first time in five months as new orders fell to their lowest since September.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index fell to 8.5 from 12.5 in March, worse than economists' expectations for a modest decline to 12.0, according to a Reuters poll. It was the lowest level since January.

New orders slipped to 2.7 from 3.3.

Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region's manufacturing sector. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

It is seen as one of the first monthly indicators of the health of U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.

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