U.S. Existing Homes sales decreased more than expected in the month of January according to the monthly report produced by the National Association of Realtors. The NAR report showed that existing-home sales including single family homes, co-ops and townhouses decreased 5.3 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.49 million units. Last month’s dip in sales followed the unexpected increase of 6.5 percent in existing-home sales in December. The January sales data surpassed economic forecasts that were expecting an increase in sales of 1.1 percent for the month.
On an annual basis, January’s existing-homes sales are 8.6 percent below the January 2007 sales level. The median sales price for existing homes in January registered at $170,300, down 15.3 percent from the January 2007 level which saw a median price of $199,800. Total housing inventory showed a decrease in January by 2.7 percent to a total of 3.60 million homes.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun commented on the real estate market in January, “Given so much stimulus package discussion in January, some would-be buyers simply sat out for clarity and certainty on the nature of housing stimulus. The housing market will soon get a lift from very favorable buying conditions – not only from improved affordability, but also from the stimulus of an $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, and higher conforming loan limits that will allow more people to tap into 50-year low mortgage rates.”
Data on new homes sales in the U.S. is scheduled to be released tommorow at 15:00 GMT by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Forex Market – US Dollar makes gains in forex trading today.
The U.S. dollar has been stronger so far today in forex trading against all the major currencies as the dollar has shown gains against the euro, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Japanese yen, Swiss franc, New Zealand dollar and British pound.
The euro has fallen versus the dollar today as the EUR/USD has dropped from today’s 1.2831 opening(00:00 GMT) to trading at approximately 1.2727 in the afternoon of the US trading session at 2:36pm EST according to currency data from Oanda.
The British pound has dropped lower today versus the American currency from the GBP/USD’s 1.4537 opening to trading later at 1.4201 dollars per pound. The dollar has advanced against the Japanese yen today as the USD/JPY has gained from its 97.17 opening to trading at 97.38 yen per usd. The dollar has gained against the Canadian dollar after the USD/CAD opened at 1.2458 earlier today to trading later at 1.2531.
The USD has also advanced against the Swiss franc as the USD/CHF has gained from the 1.1625 opening to trading at the 1.1693 exchange rate. The Australian dollar has lost ground versus the dollar as the AUD/USD has declined from 0.6511 to 0.6469 while the New Zealand dollar has fallen from 0.5142 usd per nzd to trading at 0.5098 later today.
GBP/USD Chart -The British Pound Sterling falling sharply versus the US Dollar today in Forex Trading.