January 20, 2023 | 10:29
Home Sales: No Rush to Sell, No Rush to Buy
Who would have thunk it? A week with so many U.S. economic data releases... and it is housing that ends up being not as bad as expected, while consumer spending at the shops, well, we all know what happened there.
U.S. existing home sales fell for the 11th consecutive month (the longest stretch since the series began in 1999), though the 1.5% drop in December to 12-year lows of 4.02 mln units annualized was modest compared to 1) expectations; and, 2) the last couple of months. Sales fell everywhere except for the West (flat out there), and for both singles (-1.1%) and condos (-4.5%). Interestingly, the number of homes available for sale rose 10.2% from a year ago but the comparison may not be fair. Recall inventories plunged in December 2022 due to Omicron. Overall, any potential homebuyers are facing few options ... the months supply of homes is at a low 2.9 (normal is something in the neighborhood of 5.5 or so). And yet, prices aren't doing too much ... up about 2% y/y. No rush to sell, no rush to buy?
Indeed, those high rates are still hurting this sector, though mortgage rates tumbled to a 4-mth low this week of 6.15%, which may help later. Just not now.