Oct 24, 2014 3:46 PM CT
Purchases of new houses in the U.S. rose in September, and revisions showed the magnitude of the unfolding recovery was more modest.
Sales (NHSLTOT) increased 0.2 percent to a 467,000 annualized pace, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, Commerce Department data showed today inWashington. The August rate of 466,000 was 7.5 percent weaker than previously estimated, and data for the prior two months also were revised down.
Home sales are struggling to accelerate as Americans find mortgages difficult to obtain and wage gains barely keep pace with inflation. The recent drop in borrowing costs will probably help prop up the residential real estate market heading into 2015, which will give the world’s largest economy a lift.
“This was going to be a very lengthy recovery for the housing sector, and we still have a long way to go,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg,Florida, the second-most accurate new-home sales forecaster over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The low mortgage rates are very helpful. The job growth is very, very helpful. But we’re still seeing relatively tight mortgage credit and relatively weak growth in average wages.”
Stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index capping its best week since 2013, as companies from Procter & Gamble Co. to Microsoft Corp. climbed after reporting earnings. The S&P 500 advanced 0.7 percent to 1,964.58 at the close in New York. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilding Index increased 0.3 percent.