FEBRUARY HOMES SALES PROVE HOUSING MARKET HAS NOT PEAKED

The National Association of Realtors announced Wednesday that previously owned home sales in February grew 3% over the previous month. Sales versus February of last year were up 1.1%. This comes after a two month drop in sales in January and December. The change in February eases concerns that the housing market had peaked. However, the market appears to be shifting from new home sales to previously owned home sales. Demand for previously owned homes is rising due to increased mortgage rates and higher home prices, which happen when other parts of the economy improve. The national median home price rose to $241,700, and the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage are now at 4.4%. Previously owned homes are seeing the higher demand and a smaller availability, with those current homeowners wary of selling and getting into a new home with higher rates.  Builders are ramping up construction but are struggling. Total US housing starts in February declined 7%.