The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index jumps to -25.4 for the week ended April 20, from -29.1 previously. It's the highest level in eight months and the second strongest print since January 2008.
"Rising equity prices, which are sitting near all-time highs, and a slower pace of firings in the economy are bolstering consumer confidence across just about all income and demographic groups," says Bloomberg's Joe Brusuelas.
The seasonally adjusted new home sales pace of 384K in March is 14.5% below that of February and 13.3% lower than a year ago. It's the slowest pace since July, and 14.5% is the 3rd-largest decline in 20 years. The median sales price of $290K is up 12.6% Y/Y. The supply of new homes on the market is 6 months at the current sales pace, up from 5 months in February.
Refinance applications fell 4% last week, while applications for home purchases fell 3% and are now off 18% Y/Y. Refinance apps now make up about half of all mortgage volume, down from over 80% when rates were at record lows in 2012 and early 2013.
The average loan size continues to rise, this week reaching its highest level ever of $280,500. This coincides with a big rise in home prices, a surge in sales of more expensive homes, and the inability of first-time homebuyers to either get a mortgage or compete with the likes of Wall Street's all-cash buyers on the cheaper end of the market.
March's existing home sales volume of 4.59M was 7.5% below last year's pace and the slowest volume since July 2012. The NAR's Larry Yun sounds frustrated: “There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth."
The median price of $198,500 is up 7.9% from a year ago. Distressed sales accounted for 14% of all sales, down from 21% a year ago. Inventory rose 4.7% to 1.99M homes - a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace, up from 5.0 months in February.
All-cash sales accounted for 33% of all deals vs. 35% in February, 30% a year ago. Individual investors purchased 17% of homes, vs. 21% in February, 19% a year ago. Seventy-one percent of investors paid cash in March.