WASHINGTON Feb 22 U.S. home resales surged to a
10-year high in January as buyers shrugged of higher prices and
mortgage rates, a sign of growing confidence in the economy.
The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday
existing home sales jumped 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 5.69 million units last month. That was the
highest level since February 2007.
December's sales pace was revised up to 5.51 million units
from the previously reported 5.49 million units. Economists had
forecast sales rising 1.1 percent to a 5.54 million-unit pace in
January. The NAR also revised sales data going back to 2014. The
revisions were minor and had no impact on the characterization
of the housing market.
Sales were up 3.8 percent from January 2016. Demand for
housing is being underpinned by a strengthening labor market,
which is improving employment opportunities for young adults
and, in turn, boosting household formation.
A persistent shortage of properties available for sale,
which is lifting house prices, remains an obstacle to a robust
housing market. While the 30-year fixed mortgage rate appears to
be stabilizing after rising rapidly in recent months, it still
remains above 4 percent. In contrast, annual wage growth is
running below 3 percent.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)