Weekly Mortgage Wrap UpFor the third time in three months, existing-home sales (homes that have been previously occupied, not new) rose in January, while inventories continued to improve, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Additionally, new home sales for January fell by 0.9% from December to 321,000 sales, which is better than the market expected, yet even more positive news in housing.

From the NAR Press Release:

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million in January from a downwardly revised 4.38 million-unit pace in December and are 0.7 percent above a spike to 4.54 million in January 2011.

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist:

“The broad inventory condition can be described as moving into a rough balance, not favoring buyers or sellers,” Yun said. “Foreclosure sales are moving swiftly with ready home buyers and investors competing in nearly all markets. A government proposal to turn bank-owned properties into rentals on a large scale does not appear to be needed at this time.”

Consumer Sentiment Data Released

Consumer sentiment, measured by the University of Michigan Index, increased to 75.3 in February, better than the market expectation of 73. This is up from the previous level of 75 in January.

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