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Existing Home Sales (Jul)

Existing home sales surprised on the upside in July, rising for the second consecutive month. But with demand easing and inventory at record lows, we doubt this is the start of a resurgence. Instead, we expect sales will resume their downward trend to around 5.6m annualised by end-2021.
Sam Hall Assistant Property Economist
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US Housing Market Chart Book

Mortgage rate rise hits housing market activity

The rise in mortgage rates, to a 12-year high in mid-April, is now starting to weigh on housing market activity, with new and existing home sales falling back over the past couple of months. With rates set to increase to 5.6% by mid-2023, that decline in sales will continue. However, plenty of pent-up demand from the last couple of years means a substantial fall in sales is unlikely. We expect existing home sales to drop to 5m annualised by end-2022, with new home sales seeing a small decline to 700,000 annualised over that period. Single-family starts will also fall back, in part due to the large number of homes now under construction. Rental demand is easing, as the recent surge in rents stretches affordability. That will bring rental growth down from 15.7% y/y at the start of 2022 to around 5% y/y by the end of the year. Beyond that, the boom in apartment starts seen last year will start to boost supply, and vacancy rates will stabilise at around 4.5% from mid-2023.

10 May 2022

US Housing Market Update

Rise in rates to bring more vacant homes to market

Homebuyers looking for more space were contending with low numbers of larger homes for sale in the first quarter, not helped by an apparent rise in investor demand for bigger properties. But rising mortgage rates will encourage owners of vacant homes to bring them to market, which is set to provide some relief over the next couple of years. That won’t prevent a fall in home sales but will help avoid a crash. UK Housing Drop-In (10th May 10:00 BST/17:00 SGT): Economists from our property team are hosting a 20-minute briefing to explain why we think UK house prices are heading for a fall – and how bad the fallout will be. Register now.

5 May 2022

US Housing Market Data Response

Mortgage Applications (Apr.)

The sharp rise in mortgage rates over the past couple of months, to a 12-year high of 5.37% in the middle of April, is now weighing on mortgage demand. Home purchase applications dropped to their lowest since the height of the COVID-19 impact two years ago. A further rise in the 10-year yield over the past week means mortgage rates will rise further, placing additional constraints on demand. That said, plenty of pent-up demand from the past couple of years and a rising share of cash buyers still make a crash in home sales unlikely.

4 May 2022

More from Sam Hall

US Commercial Property Valuation Monitor

Property valuations stabilise in Q2

Following a sharp deterioration in the previous quarter, property valuations held steady in Q2. But while changes so far in Q3 point to only a slight worsening in valuations, we expect Treasury yields will turn a corner and rise to 1.75% by end-2021, which will squeeze property valuations further. Movements in valuation scores were split between sectors this quarter, with a worsening in valuations leaving apartments and industrial looking fairly valued whereas a rise in our scores for office and retail made these sectors look relatively cheap. But the bigger picture remains the same, as we think that “average” office and retail assets will need to see further yield rises before they truly represent good value to investors.

23 August 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Housing Starts (Jul.)

Single-family starts edged back in July, although they but remain elevated compared to pre-COVID levels. Shortages in lots, labour and materials are weighing on builder confidence and housing starts. But falling material prices should enable builders to work through their large backlog of delayed projects, which will help starts average 1.15m annualised this year.

18 August 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Mortgage Applications (Jul.)

The recent decline in mortgage rates buoyed refinancing activity in July, but didn’t prevent another month of declining home purchase activity. While market conditions are tight, there are still plenty of households looking to buy, which is why we expect housing demand to stay close to its current level in H2 2021.

4 August 2021
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