Home sales begin the year on a strong note. In January sales of previously owned homes rose to the highest level since February 2007. Sales might have been even better if inventory levels had been higher. Total inventory of existing homes for sale remained near record low levels with just a 3.6-month supply.

It was another volatile week for mortgage markets. Uncertainty about the outcome of the elections in Europe had a positive influence on U.S. mortgage rates. The Fed minutes and the economic data had little net effect. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week lower.

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