May 19, 2023
U.S. new homes sales rose +4.1% m/m in April, 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 fell -3.4% m/m in April, down -23.2% from a year ago.
The median sales price of new homes fell -7.7% m/m in April, 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 +3.6% m/m in April, but was down -1.7% from a year ago.
The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index appears to have peaked last June. It rose +0.2 m/m in February, but was still up +2.0% from a year ago. (There is a several month lag in reporting this index).
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose +5 points to 50 in April. It has been gradually recovering this year since reaching a low point of 31 in December.
US new housing starts rose +2.2% m/m in April, but are down -22.3% from a year ago.
New residential construction permits fell -1.5% m/m in April, down -21.1% from a year ago.
U.S. private residential construction spending peaked in May of last year. It fell -0.2% m/m in March (latest available), down -10.0% from a year ago. For Q1 as a whole, spending fell -3.3% q/q, down -7.7% y/y. These numbers are not adjusted for inflation, so the decline in real terms is deeper.
As of May 18, 2023, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is currently at 6.39%. That is down from its peak of nearly 7.1% in October-November, but still +1.14 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.