Rebounding from another slow year, the housing market is picking up steam. Prospective home buyers are taking advantage of low mortgage rates, and home builder sentiment reached its highest level in more than 4 years this week. Housing is also gaining a bit of attention on the campaign trail. Dems and Republicans took part at a South Carolina rally promoting home ownership. Read these headlines and more in this week’s Friday Five.
HouseLogic: Home Sales Rise in December
Existing-home sales continued on an uptrend in December, rising for a third consecutive month and remaining above a year ago, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Mortgage loan applications surged 23% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, as record-low interest rates convinced many home owners it was time to refinance into lower-cost loans.
Wall Street Journal: Home-Builder Sentiment Hits Highest Level Since Mid-2007
U.S. home builders’ sentiment rose in January to the highest level in 4 1/2 years, the latest in a series of signs that the housing market is finally beginning to recover after a prolonged bust.
Hundreds turned out in a diverse crowd for a rally designed to head off prospective federal legislation that could hurt home buyers and owners. The well-publicized rally attracted Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, along with U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), and former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, a Republican.
If you’ve been paying attention to the Republican presidential candidates lately, you wouldn’t guess that housing is one the most important issues on voters’ minds. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich — the top three finishers in most national polls — have been fairly quiet on the issue. Instead, the leading Republican contenders have been narrowly focused on attacking President Barack Obama’s jobs record.