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Moderate housing market growth reported this spring

Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 9:09:19 AM

This spring hasn't been too kind to the U.S. housing market. Growth has been relatively slow, and an increase in activity and interest in residential financing hasn't been as strong as in years past.

Recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development indicate that residential construction in March only experienced moderate gains. Building permits ticked down 2.4 percent from February's revised rate, and privately-owned housing starts increased 2.8 percent over that time. 

In addition, March single-family building permits were authorized at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000, up 6 percent from February, according to the joint release.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the overall housing market growth this spring hasn't exceeded expectations. Activity so far has been slow, and the warmer temperatures haven't brought about the increases many had hoped for. 

Tom Lawler, a Virginia-based independent housing economist, told the media outlet that the gains have been worse than many people expected, even once adjusted for the poor weather.

Perhaps another reason for the struggles so far is the rise in home prices. Monthly mortgage payments are slowly climbing, which may deter some people from buying. However, residential financing rates are still near historic lows, and a declining investor activity could free up inventory for some buyers.