July 22, 2021 | 10:51
U.S. Existing Home Sales Sail
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Existing home sales climbed 1.4% to 5.86 mln in June, coming in slightly below expectations, but halting a four-month slide. The median sales price jumped 23.4% y/y to a record $363,300. Despite surging prices cutting into affordability, sales are still holding above pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that the housing market remains robust amid low interest rates and still-healthy employment gains (though the job market’s recovery has been uneven at times—initial jobless claims rose by 51,000 to a seasonally adjusted 419,000 for the week ended July 17, marking a one-month high).
After pulling back every month this year, sales of single-family homes reversed course, climbing 1.4%, while condos also rose 1.4%, erasing the prior month’s drop. More units came on the market—there were 1.25 mln homes available for sale, marking the highest since November—though the level still hovers near record lows. At the current pace, it would take only 2.6 months for all homes on the market to be sold, compared to around 4 months before the pandemic. Sales rose in all regions while the densely populated South held steady.
Bottom Line: Despite slowing momentum, the U.S. housing market is expected to remain robust for some time. Mortgage rates are hovering near record lows and a comfortable cushion of savings should help prospective buyers clear credit hurdles.