According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. rose by 2.9% in April to an annualized pace of 4.68 million. The gain, the second in three months, was spurred by foreclosure auctions and cheaper prices which attracted bargain hunters. Distressed properties accounted for 45% of all existing home sales and the median price of a home fell 15% from a year earlier. The number of houses on the market climbed 8.8% to 3.97 million in April, and at the current rate of sales, it would take 10.2 months to sell all those homes, Bloomberg reports.
At the same time, the Mortgage Bankers Association's index of mortgage applications decreased 14.2% in the week ended May 22. The share of applicants seeking to refinance existing loans fell to 69.3%, from 73.6% in the prior week, as the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose by 12 basis points (bps) to 4.81%, the highest level in more than two months. The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate and one-year adjustable mortgages rose by one basis point to 4.44% and 17 bps to 6.55%, respectively, Bloomberg reports.