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Lower rates boost U.S. housing market potential


The recent dip in mortgage rates has boosted the potential for home sales, according First American Corp.

The U.S. residential market had the potential, as of December, to sell 6.15 million homes annually, up 0.3 percent over the month and 1.1 percent year over year, the company estimated.

The company noted a 23 basis point decline in the 30-year fixed rate, which coincided with wild swings in the U.S. stock market. The lower rates improved affordability, and could spur some homeowners to move, according to First American's Chief Economist Mark Fleming.

“The decline in mortgage rates is a welcome relief to prospective home buyers who have mostly experienced a year of rising rates and house prices,” Fleming said. He noted, however, that interest rates are expected to start rising again in 2019.

On a seasonally adjusted annual basis, existing home sales were running about 593,000 lower than the market potential in December, First American estimated. 


 

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