(Kitco News) – Gold prices continue to hold on to modest gains, following weaker-than existing home sales data, from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Existing home sales were slightly down, showing a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate of 5.15 million in September. Economists were expecting to see a sales rate of 5.29 million units.
Gold prices were largely unchanged after the data was released, with December Comex gold futures last seen trading at $1,230.80, up 0.08% on the day.
The housing market remains a major concern among economists on the health of the U.S. economy. Existing home sales has not seen an increase since March. In particular, last month’s sales rate was the lowest since November 2015.
Some market analysts note that higher interest rates will continue to weigh on the sector, especially for new home buyers looking for their first mortgage.
“This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”
Looking at home prices, the NAR said the median existing-home price2 for all housing types in September was $258,100, up 4.2% from September 2017.
The supply of homes for sale continues to drop, which is also a factor driving prices higher for new home buyers. The report said total housing inventory at the end of September decreased to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace.
By Neils Christensen
For Kitco News