A quick rundown of the important real estate news from the week of February 18 – February 24, by the numbers:
14.3% – Predicted growth in U.S. employment this decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area is predicted to have the greatest job growth through 2020.
223 – Number of stores the U.S. Postal Service has identified for possible closings. The closings are part of a larger plan by the USPS to reduce costs by $20 billion.
0.71% – Increase in home prices since November according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. However, prices are down 1.32% since December 2010.
4.3% – Increase in exiting homes sales in January from the previous month. On a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 4.57 million existing homes were sold.
321,000 – New homes sales in January on a seasonally adjusted annual rate. The number of new sales is up from the original reading for December. However, new homes sales were down from the revised December reading of 324,000 new home sales.
3.95% – Average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage this week according to Freddie Mac. The rate is up from last week’s record low of 3.87%
351,000 – Initial unemployment claims for the week ending February 18. The number is unchanged from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 359,000.
5.6 Months – Current supply of homes on the market. The number is the lowest since January 2006 and is down from December’s supply of 5.7 months.
1,200 – Number of stores Sears Holding Corp. will unload according to a recent announcement. Hedge fund manager Edward S. Lampert has undertaken the action to raise $700 million for the struggling retailer.