June 23, 2023
U.S. new homes sales rose +4.1% m/m in April (last available), up +11.8% from a year ago. With the exception of a single month, this is the first time sales have turned positive y/y since May 2021.
US existing home sales rose +0.2% m/m in May, down -20.4% from a year ago.
The median sales price of new homes fell -7.7% m/m in April (latest available), down -8.2% from a year ago. Home prices peaked last October, and this was the first time they were down y/y since August 2020.
The median sales price of existing homes rose +2.6% m/m in May, but was down -3.1% from a year ago.
The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index dipped after peaking last June, but appears to be rising agin. It rose +0.4 m/m in March, but was still up +0.6% from a year ago. (There is a several month lag in reporting this index).
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose another +5 points to 55 in May. It has been gradually recovering this year since reaching a low point of 31 in December.
US new housing starts surged +21.7% m/m in May, up +5.7% from a year ago, its first time back in positive y/y territory since April 2022.
New residential construction permits rose +5.2% m/m in May, but were still down -12.7% from a year ago.
U.S. private residential construction spending peaked in May of last year. It rose +0.5% m/m in April, but was still down -9.2% from a year ago.
As of June 22, 2023, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is currently at 6.67%. That is down from its peak of nearly 7.1% in October-November, but still +0.86 percentage points higher than it stood a year ago.
According to recent consumer sentiment surveys by the University of Michigan, higher mortgage rates have been a significant factor in potential home-purchasers willingness to buy.