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The average interest rate on the most popular U.S. home loan climbed to a 12 year high and fewer homebuyers sought properties in a sign that the Federal Reserve's aim of cooling the housing market may be beginning to have an impact.  The popular 30 year fixed rate mortgage is now 5.27% with the bulk of the run up occurring since the start of the year.

Sales of existing homes dropped 2.7% in March to a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 5.77 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. February’s reading was also revised downward with a larger-than-usual dent, from 6.02 million units to 5.93 million.  March sales were 4.5% lower than the same period in 2021.  The reading is based on closings, meaning the contracts were likely signed in January and February, when mortgage rates began to rise but had not yet shot up as sharply as they did in March.  Higher rates exacerbated an already pricey market for buyers. The median price of an existing home sold in March was $375,300, an increase of 15% from March 2021. That’s the highest median price ever recorded by the Realtors.

Shares of IBM are sharply higher after the hardware, software and consulting provider reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter results, inspiring analysts to raise price targets and estimates.  The 110-year-old technology company has become more favorable to investors as it generates income and continues to pay dividends, which can serve as a hedge against market uncertainty.


 

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