A "For Sale" sign stands in front of a newly constructed home in Londonderry, N.H., Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. U.S. home sales retreated 1.3% in January from the prior month, but low mortgage rates helped enable an increase in purchases from a year ago. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales retreated 1.3% in January from the prior month, but low mortgage rates helped enable an increase in purchases from a year ago.
The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes slipped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million. Sales have climbed 9.6% over the past 12 months as borrowing costs have fallen. But sales could be squeezed in the coming months because of a shortage of homes listed for sale.
Just 1.42 million homes were on the market at the end of January, a 10.7% decline from a year ago. With fewer homes for sale, would-be buyers have fewer options and prices are rising faster than wage growth.
The median sales price in January was $266,300, up 6.8% from a year ago.
Still, a solid economy and low mortgage rates are boosting demand for housing. Workers have an increased sense of security with the unemployment rate hovering near a half-century low at 3.6%. Meanwhile, the average interest rate charged on a 30-year mortgage was 3.49% this week, down from 4.35% a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
Top Ten Brokerages You Can Trust
There are more than 500 brokerages and research houses that hire analysts to issue ratings and recommendations. Collectively, these brokerages and their analysts publish approximately 175,000 ratings each year. Every trading day, there are nearly 700 reports and recommendations that are released to the public. To say that it's difficult to separate the signal from the noise when interpreting this data would be an understatement.
MarketBeat has developed a system to track each brokerage and research house's stock recommendations and score them based on their past performance. If Goldman Sachs predicted that Apple's stock price was going to hit $150.00 on a specific date, how accurate were they? If Bank of America issued a "strong buy" rating on a stock, how did that stock perform compared to the broader market over the following twelve months. This tracking system has been applied to the 650,000+ ratings that MarketBeat has tracked during the last five years to identify which brokerages you can really trust (and which you can safely ignore).
This slide show lists the 10 brokerages who have issued the most accurate analyst recommendations over the past several years, as measured by the performance of their "buy" ratings and the accuracy of their price targets.
View the "Top Ten Brokerages You Can Trust".