More fresh reads on housing this week as an industry group reported applications for home mortgages rose last week -- driven by refinancing demand -- and home improvement retailer Lowe's came out with second quarter earnings, lowering its outlook on sales for the year.
Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task in the video above points to a "dichotomy in the housing market" as evidenced by the data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, which showed a seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications up 2.7% last week but a gauge of applications for home purchases falling 0.4%. The MBA points out a recent interest rate drop pushed mortgage rates lower.
In addition, with Lowe's (LOW) reducing its sales forecast just a day after rival Home Depot reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its guidance, Task says there's "something for bulls and bears alike" in the data. Task contends the difference between Lowe's and Home Depot's (HD) performance is likely retailer-specific versus reflective of the housing sector.
The bulls are also bolstered by data out Monday showing new home construction rose sharply in July to its highest level in eight months. The Commerce Department reported housing starts rose 15.7% to 1.09 million homes, beating expectations for 963,000.
In addition, The Wall Street Journal reports that home median home sizes are leveling off, pausing a trend of new houses getting bigger and suggesting more entry-level buyers may be entering the market.
Task says he believes after the housing bust and the sharp recovery, the market is leveling off to "something now approaching normal."
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