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September Demand Was Strong despite Rate Hikes

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Despite fears that higher mortgage rates could cripple a recovering housing market, the vital signs for housing remained remarkably good in September, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey.

While the new HousingPulse results reveal a continuing slowdown in homebuyer traffic among all groups – current homeowners, first-time homebuyers and investors – that started last spring, other indicators suggest the housing market was nevertheless quite strong in September.

For example, the time-on-market for non-distressed properties, a key driver of home prices, was at a four-year low of just 8.6 weeks in September, according to HousingPulse. This compared to 10 weeks or more during the spring months when mortgage rates were close to near-record lows.

The number of purchase offers on non-distressed properties, a strong indicator of housing demand, stood at a three-month average of 2.2 in September. This was off just slightly from the four-year high of 2.3 offers seen in the early summer months, HousingPulse results showed.

“The emerging slowdown in home purchases appears to be largely seasonal. September is yet another month where higher mortgage rates have had only a moderate effect on the housing market,” says Thomas Popik, research director for the HousingPulse survey.

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