…Mortgage applications to purchase a home also lost ground, falling 4 percent for the week to the lowest level since February. Still, they are 10 percent higher than the same week last year.
“A strong job market and low rates continue to support home sales,” Fratantoni said.
Low rates are the only bright spot in a housing market plagued by low inventory and rising prices. Several major U.S. metropolitan markets are hitting new record high median home prices, and homebuilders are not starting enough new homes to meet demand and help moderate the price gains. Single family housing starts in July rose less than 1 percent for the month, and building permits, an indicator of future construction, fell 3.7 percent, according to the U.S. Census.
“Single family starts of 770,000 is about exactly where the year to date average is, 25 percent below the 25 year average and 58 percent below the 2006 peak,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst of the Lindsey Group. “Yes, we continue to be in a housing recovery but let’s put it into perspective.”…