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New Home Sales (Feb.)

Severe weather, tight inventory and worsening affordability pushed new home sales down to 775,000 annualised in February. And with mortgage rates likely to rise to 4.0% by the end of the year, home sales face strong headwinds. That said, higher savings and the reopening of the economy will support activity and help new home sales end the year at around 830,000 annualised.
Sam Hall Assistant Property Economist
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US Housing Market Update

Mortgage debt service ratio to remain low

The surge in mortgage rates has led to a sharp deterioration in home affordability. But that doesn’t mean the mortgage debt service ratio, the share of disposable income spent on mortgage payments, will also surge from its current low level. Existing borrowers are protected by long-term fixed mortgage rates, and tight credit conditions argue against a large rise in debt-to-income ratios for new buyers. While home sales will take a hit from higher interest rates, the housing market will remain resilient to future shocks.

19 May 2022

US Housing Market Data Response

Existing Home Sales (Apr.)

Existing home sales fell once again in April, although for now they remain above their pre-COVID-19 level. But, with mortgage rates set to stay high and credit conditions unlikely to loosen significantly, sales will fall further this year. Indeed, buyer traffic dropped sharply in April. We expect sales will fall back to around 5m annualised by end-2022.

19 May 2022

US Housing Market Data Response

Housing Starts (Apr.)

Housing starts dropped by a marginal 0.2% m/m in April, driven by the single-family sector which also saw building permits fall for the second month in a row. Housing demand is faltering due to a surge in mortgage interest rates to a 12-year high, which helped push homebuilding confidence to a two-year low in May. That said, pent-up demand from the past couple of years means we are not expecting a crash in housing market activity, and single-family starts will fall gradually to around 1m annualised by end-2022.

18 May 2022

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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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