New Home Sales (Jun.)

New homes sales dropped for the third month in a row in June, as homebuilders restricted sales in an effort to catch-up with the backlog of homes sold last year. But builders have reported continued strength in prospective buyers, and that implies sales will rise later this year as supply improves. We therefore expect new sales will end the year at around 850,000 annualised.
Matthew Pointon Senior Property Economist
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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

US Housing Market Update

Why are pending and existing home sales diverging?

An increase in the quality of mortgage borrowers, and record low inventory, are boosting the mortgage closing rate and leading to an increase in the share of pending home sales converted into existing home sales. Those factors are not set to go into reverse anytime soon, so we don’t think existing sales will snap back to match the pending sales index over the next few months.

29 November 2021

More from Matthew Pointon

US Housing Market Outlook

Home sales to ease even as mortgage rates stay low

Even as mortgage rates have remained low, housing market activity has dropped back as booming house prices, tight credit conditions and a lack of inventory have put off buyers. We expect that dynamic to continue over the remainder of the year. While mortgage rates will see only a small rise to 3.5% by end-2021, total home sales will end the year at around 6.5m annualised, down 15% y/y. Low mortgage rates will however support house prices, and we expect growth to only slow to around 10% y/y by end-2021. Single-family housing starts have been constrained by a shortage of materials and labour. While the latter won’t be solved overnight, a sharp drop in lumber prices should help get some stalled projects off the ground and help starts average 1.16m in 2021, a 16% increase on 2020. Rental demand is recovering quickly as cities and offices reopen and households complete delayed moves. With supply also tight, that will drive up effective rental growth to 2.5% y/y by end-2021, and 4.0% y/y by mid-2022.

15 July 2021

US Housing Market Update

Will booming house prices translate into rents?

The recent surge in house price growth to record highs does not automatically mean rental growth is also set to take off. But a strong recovery in rental demand as cities reopen and households make delayed moves, coupled with low vacancy rates, mean rental growth will rise this year. From 1.9% y/y in June, we expect the rent of primary residence component of the CPI to rise to 2.5% by the end of the year, and 4.0% y/y by mid-2022.

14 July 2021

US Housing Market Chart Book

Home demand drops as prices surge

Despite mortgage rates seeing little movement in recent months, mortgage applications for home purchase have dropped to their lowest level since April last year. That implies home sales have further to fall. Booming house prices, which reached a record high 15% y/y in April, and a shortage of inventory are constraining sales. While low mortgage rates mean affordability is still historically favourable, lenders are not easing lending standards and that will be weighing on purchasing power. By contrast, rental demand is recovering as cities have reopened. The recovery in the labour market will cut arrears, and strong earnings will help boost rental growth. Total apartment returns will average a healthy 6% p.a from 2021-25.

7 July 2021
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