Existing Home Sales (Mar.)

Tight inventory pushed existing home sales down to a seven-month low in March. Indeed, the number of homes for sale is at record lows and this will continue to constrain home sales this year. What’s more, with mortgage rates likely to rise to 4.0% by the end of the year, worsening affordability will weigh on demand. We therefore expect sales will fall further over the coming months, ending 2021 at around 5.6m annualised.
Sam Hall Assistant Property Economist
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US Housing Market Chart Book

Housing activity surges even as mortgage rates rise

Housing market activity has surprised on the upside over the past month and home sales look set for a strong end to the year. Even as mortgage rates increased to an eight-month high, home purchase mortgage applications have surged, pending home sales are trending up, and a rise in buyer traffic points to a resurgence in new home sales. The arrival of the Omicron variant has also brought interest rates down, which may give activity an added boost over the next month or so. However, stretched affordability and a lack of inventory means the resurgence in existing home sales is likely to prove short-lived. Indeed, house price growth is slowing, and we expect it will fall from around 20% y/y now to 3% by end-2022. The rental market is also booming, with vacancy rates falling back even faster than we expected as cities have reopened.

7 December 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Mortgage Applications (Nov.)

A rise in mortgage rates to an eight-month high of 3.31% by the end of November failed to dampen home purchase demand, which surged to a nine-month high. The drop in 10-year Treasury yields from the arrival of the Omicron variant implies mortgage rates will fall back over the next couple of weeks, which may provide some further support to demand. But with affordability stretched we doubt the current level of home purchase applications can be sustained beyond the next few weeks.

1 December 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Case-Shiller/FHFA House Prices (Sep.)

Annual house price growth fell for the first time in 16-months in September, and stretched affordability means it should continue to slow. It is too soon to say what impact the arrival of the Omicron variant will have on the housing market. But one immediate effect has been a fall in interest rates, which if sustained may give prices some support over the remainder of the year.

30 November 2021

More from Sam Hall

US Housing Market Data Response

Mortgage Applications (Jun.)

Home purchase mortgage applications fell back again in June, leaving them down 23% compared to the 11-year high seen in January. Tight inventory and stretched affordability are largely responsible for the recent downward trend in housing demand and we expect these factors will persist throughout the year.

7 July 2021

US Commercial Property Data Response

US Metro Employment (May.)

Employment growth in May was positive in all metros, largely driven by gains in the leisure & hospitality sector. This benefited Orlando, Los Angeles and Las Vegas the most, but still left employment around 10% below its pre-pandemic peak in the worst affected metros.

30 June 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Case-Shiller/FHFA House Prices (Apr.)

House price growth gathered pace in April, with the annual growth rate hitting record highs on both the Case-Shiller and FHFA measures. But despite the pick-up in house price expectations, we don’t think a self-reinforcing bubble will form, nor do we expect values will crash. Rather, we think rising mortgage rates and stretched affordability will cool house price growth to around 7% y/y by the end of the year.

29 June 2021
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