Investments

Bad housing news drives stocks deep into red territory

Existing home sales was just the latest warning sign

The year is off to a bad start for housing in terms of housing starts, completions and permits, and Monday morning’s report from the National Association of Realtors that existing home sales tumbled in January left housing stocks bleeding by afternoon.

Rubbing salt in the wound, mortgage applications have been spiraling downward in February, giving away most of the gains made in January.

Meanwhile, the earliest home price report from Black Knight Financial Services pointed to home price declines in December.

“This morning's home sales report further confirms the Fed's assessment of a "slow" recovery in the US housing market,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Sterne Agee.

By early afternoon the HW 30 – HousingWire’s proprietary index of stocks that drive housing and mortgage finance – looked like the backroom of a butcher shop.

There were notable exceptions like Nationstar Mortgage (NSM) and Ocwen Financial (OCN), each of which had their own busy trading through the morning.

Ellie Mae (ELLI) was one of the loss leaders, down almost 4% in early afternoon trading.

Realogy Holdings (RLGY) was down more than 2%. The bulk of the balance of the HW 30 was down in the 1-2% range.

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