Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million. This annual rate is 4.7% higher than the 4.66 million-unit level in February 2014.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says although February sales showed modest improvement, there’s been some stagnation in the market in recent months. “Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices to near unsuitable levels,” he said. “Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity, but it continues to be an obstacle for current buyers looking to close before rates rise.”
Adds Yun, “Severe below-freezing winter weather likely had an impact on sales as more moderate activity was observed in the Northeast and Midwest compared to other regions of the country.”
“With all indications pointing to a rate increase from the Federal Reserve this year – perhaps as early as this summer – affordability concerns could heighten as home prices and rents both continue to exceed wages,” adds Yun.
The existing home sales rate decreased in 2 out of 4 U.S. regions in February:
- Northeast: 0.58 million from 0.62 million month prior.
- Midwest: 1.08 million from 1.08 million month prior.
- South: 2.11 million from 2.07 million month prior.
- West: 1.11 million from 1.05 million month prior.
Total housing inventory at the end of February increased 1.6% to 1.89 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.6 month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is down 0.5% from a year ago, when there were 1.90 million existing homes available for sale.
The median time on market for all homes was 62 days in February. That is down from 69 days in January. Short sales were on the market for a median of 120 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 58 days, and non-distressed homes took 61 days. 34% of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month.
The national median existing home price for all housing types was $202,600, up 7.5% from a year ago.
The Federal Reserve has published its quarterly Z.1 report (also known as the Flow of Funds report) which summarizes the balance sheets for U.S. households.
U.S. household net worth increased to $82.9 trillion in the fourth quarter from $81.4 trillion in the third quarter, and is up 5.2% from last year.
Assets increased to $97.1 trillion from $95.5 trillion and liabilities increased to $14.2 trillion from $14.1 trillion.
Financial assets as a share of total assets was unchanged at 70.0% in Q4.
Real estate, the largest household asset, made up 24.2% of total assets from 24.3% in Q3.
Home mortgages as a share of liabilities declined to 66.3% from a high of 75.0% in 2009.
The Federal Reserve published its quarterly Z.1 report today (also known as the Flow of Funds report) which summarizes the balance sheets for U.S. households.
U.S. household net worth decreased to $81.3 trillion in the third quarter from $81.5 trillion in the second quarter, and is up 6.7% from last year.
Assets were little changed at $95.4 trillion and liabilities increased to $14.1 trillion from $13.9 trillion.
Financial assets as a share of total assets decreased to 70.0% in Q3 from 70.3% in Q2.
Real estate, the largest household asset, made up 24.3% of total assets from 24.0% in Q2.
Home mortgages as a share of liabilities declined to 66.7% from a high of 75.0% in 2009.
The total amount of mined gold in the entire world is somewhere in the ballpark of 175,000 metric tonnes (1,2,3,4,5). There are 32,151.7466 troy ounces in a tonne, giving us a total of 5,626,380,655 troy ounces of gold in existence.
After peaking in August 2011 at $1,826, the price per troy ounce of gold today is about $1,206. That means the value of all the gold in the world today is approximately $6.788 trillion.
As pointed out by @RudyHavenstein, there is a possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve could end up carrying more assets on its balance sheet than the total value of gold in existence, should the price of gold continue to decline (or the Fed’s assets continue to increase).
The Fed is currently sitting on $4.408 trillion in reserves, which means that its balances would surpass the gold market at a gold price of $783.42 per troy ounce.
Ben S. Bernanke said the mortgage market is still so tight that he’s having a hard time refinancing his own home loan.
The former Federal Reserve chairman, speaking at a conference in Chicago, told moderator Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics Inc. — “just between the two of us” — that “I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so.”
When the audience laughed, Bernanke said, “I’m not making that up.”
“I think it’s entirely possible” that lenders “may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions,” he said.
You Know It’s a Tough Market When Ben Bernanke Can’t Refinance
The Federal Reserve published its quarterly Z.1 report yesterday (also known as the Flow of Funds report) which summarizes the balance sheets for U.S. households.
Household net worth increased to $81.5 trillion in the second quarter from $80.1 trillion in the first quarter, and is up 10.4% from last year.
Assets increased to $95.4 trillion from $93.9 trillion and liabilities increased to $13.9 trillion from $13.8 trillion.
Financial assets as a share of total assets increased to 70.3% in Q2 from 70.1% in Q1.
This was driven largely by increases in corporate equities.
Home mortgages as a share of liabilities declined to only 67.2% from a high of 75.0% in 2009.
First, we’ve had very low inflation for a long time, and there’s inertia to inflation. The best indicator of where inflation will be next year is to start from where it is this year. We won the war against inflation. It’s that simple.
Second, we still have slack in our economy, in both labor markets as well as in product markets. Companies have very little pricing power—as an aside, the Internet is a reinforcing factor because consumers can find the price of everything. And we have too many people unemployed or underemployed for workers to be running around demanding raises.
Finally, the Fed has credibility, so expectations of inflation are low. Unmoored expectations could foster higher inflation, as companies try to anticipate higher costs. Fed credibility is a bulwark against that. Unlike 30 years ago, the Fed has had demonstrable success in keeping prices stable by showing it is willing to raise short-term rates to slow growth and inflation.
TIME interviews Paul McCulley, Chief Economist at PIMCO