(Kitco News) – Gold prices remain under pressure near the lows of the session after data show that US consumers are returning to the housing market.
On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its upcoming home sales were up 4.6% to 103.2 in January, from a 2.2% decline in December. The increase puts an end to a downward trend of three months. Economists were expecting a 0.7% increase
Stronger than expected data has little impact on the price of gold as investors continue to focus on comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell back to Capitol Hill for his second day of testimony before the Congress. The latest gold futures on April traded at $ 1,324.10 an ounce, down 0.34%.
Despite the good data, the NAR noted that pending home sales are still down 2.3% from January 2017.
According to some economists, the housing sector has suffered from rising interest rates; However, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the Fed's monetary policy shift, ending interest rate hikes in January, helped boost confidence in the housing sector.
"Homebuyers are now coming back and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while the increase in stocks is also offering consumers more choice," he said.
Yun added that the positive numbers of pending home sales in January should continue. "Income is growing faster than home prices in many regions and mortgage rates are expected to remain stable. In addition, job creation will help increase home purchases. "
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