Monday, February 29, 2016 - Article by: Jesse Stroup - Geneva Financial -
The National Association of REALTORS(R) (NAR) reported on Monday that Pending Home Sales in January fell 2.5% from December. The NAR said that winter storms in parts of the country coupled with overheated home prices were the reasons for the unexpected declines. Pending Home Sales, an indicator of future closed sales, are just 1.4% higher than January of 2015. "While January's blizzard possibly caused some of the pullback in the Northeast, the recent acceleration in home prices and minimal inventory throughout the country appears to be the primary obstacle holding back would-be buyers," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.Business activity in the Chicago region fell into contraction territory in February. Chicago PMI fell to 47.6 this month, below the 55.6 in January and below the 52.0 expected. Within the report it showed that new orders and production rates also declined. A reading below 50 signals contraction. When asked what impacts lower oil prices had on activity, 48% of the respondents said that lower prices were boosting business due to lower freight and transportation costs.Gas prices at the pumps remained low over the weekend with the national average price at $1.74 for regular, up nearly 4 cents in the last week. A petroleum analyst said that the eight-month decline at the pump looks like it's coming to an end. The highest price seen was $4.11 back in July of 2008. The drop in prices has come as oil prices have plunged due to a big surge in supplies of crude oil.
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