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DID YOU KNOW? Banks and smaller companies propelled stocks to their best January in 30 years, a sign that investors are favoring sectors tied to the U.S. economy. Those groups were among the biggest laggards during the 4th quarter’s steep slide. Their reversal suggests that investors who were bracing for a sharp slowdown in U.S. economic activity have been soothed by cautious comments from the Federal Reserve, signs of strength in the labor market and data pointing to tepid inflation. (WSJ)
 
DID YOU KNOW? The partial Government shutdown delayed November NEW HOME SALES figures: sales rose 16.9% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000, as per the Commerce Department. Economists surveyed by the WSJ had expected new-home sales to reach an annual rate of 571,000. This figure is a rough estimate that comes with a big margin of error and is often revised later. Sales of new homes were down 7.7% compared to a year earlier. Existing-home sales (the bulk of sales) dropped in December from a month earlier by 10.3% over the past 12 months. (WSJ)
 
DID YOU KNOW? Rates for home loans ticked up slightly, but look set to fall in the coming weeks as investors gird for a slower-growth economy. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.46% in the January 31 week, up just one basis point compared to the prior week, and marked the first time in 2019 that the popular product had charted an increase. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89%, also up one basis point. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.96%, up from 3.90%.
 
DID YOU KNOW? Luxury home sales ($1m +) in Canada’s most in-demand markets dipped notably in 2018: a significant slowdown in luxury property transactions transpired in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver throughout 2018, mainly because of supply-side deficiencies and weaker purchasing power stemming from the economic impact of sliding oil prices. Calgary’s luxury sales shrunk by 10% annually in 2018, with oil weakness cited as the main factor. Toronto luxury sales fell by 31%, and transactions for homes priced higher than $4 million shrunk by 40%. Vancouver’s year-over-year activity declines in these price brackets were at 26% and 49%, respectively. (Mortgage Broker News)



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