Purchases of single-family homes slid 10.4 percent in December to a 536,000 annual rate, according to the Commerce Department on Thursday. It was the the lowest pace in 10 months. The median forecast from the Reuters survey of analysts was for 588,000.
The housing market has been supported by steady improvement in employment and historically low mortgage rates, which have remained near the bottom after being driven down by the Federal Reserve quantitative easing purchase programs. Home sales last year were the best since 2007, but sharply rising mortgage rates may be beginning to change the dynamics of the market.
The nationwide average for 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.32 percent at the end of December, the highest since April 2014, according to Freddie Mac the government lending and securitization agency. That was up from 3.54 percent before the November 8th Presidential election and 4.09 percent at the end of last week.
Chief Market Strategist
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