Housing markets show continued signs of strengthening according to reports released on Wednesday. The National Association of RealtorsÂ® reported that sales of pre-owned homes rose to 5.49 million in June as compared to Mayâs revised reading of 5.32 million pre-owned homes sold and expected sales estimated at 5.42 million sales. Expectations were based on Mayâs original reading of 5.35 million sales. Juneâs reading was the highest since February of 2007. Readings for existing home sales are calculated on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.
Results from a Federal Reserve survey of senior bank loan officers indicated that lenders have held the line on prime lending standards and have raised standards for sub-prime and non-traditional home loans.
Housing Starts exceeded expectations and also beat October's reading of 889,000. November housing starts were posted at 1.09 million against a consensus of 963,000. This reading is more in line with the NAHB/Wells Fargo Home builder Market Index, which reached a four month high with December's reading.
The minutes of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meeting held October 29 and 30 were released Wednesday. The meeting began with a report from the Manager of the System Open Market Account and included updates on developments within domestic and foreign financial markets.
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve decided not to reduce the Fed's current quantitative easing program of purchasing $85 billion monthly in Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities.