Mortgage Market Update

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported today that Existing Home Sales in December rose by 1% to an annual rate of 4.87 million units. That was slightly below the expectation of 4.90 million. In 2013, there were 5.09 million sales, up 9.1% from 2012. Within the report it revealed that the median existing home price was $198,000, up 9.9% from 2012. Inventories fell to a 4.6 month supply from 5.1 months in November.

Over in the jobs market, the Labor Department reported today that Americans filing for first time unemployment insurance rose by 1,000 in the latest week to 326,000, which was near the 327,000 expected. Taking out the weak December jobs report, which was attributed to a cold wave, the sector has been improving. But unseasonably cold weather has continued in January and the job numbers can be influenced when this month’s figures are released on February 7.

Fast food giant McDonald’s reported slightly better than expected earnings per share in its quarterly report. The company reported that it earned $1.40 billion in the fourth quarter on revenues of $7.09 billion. Global sales declined by 9.1%, while U.S. sales dropped 1.4%.