Existing Home Sales Drop, New Home Sales Tick Up

May 27, 2020

 

Overview: With little economic news and the Memorial Day holiday, mortgage markets were relatively quiet over the past week, and rates again ended with little change.

The most significant economic data released over the past week came from the housing sector. In April, sales of previously owned (existing) homes, which make up about 90% of the market, fell a massive 18% from March and were 17% lower than a year ago. The inventory of homes for sale was at just a 4.1-month supply nationally, well below the 6.0-month supply that is considered a healthy balance between buyers and sellers. Inventory was 20% lower than a year ago, as many sellers were reluctant to list their homes during the pandemic.

 

April new home sales, which account for the remaining 10% of the market, contained more encouraging news. They posted a small increase from March and were just 6% lower than a year ago. While existing home sales are based on actual closings, new home sales measure contracts signed during the month. This means that new home sales reflect more current activity in the housing market.

 

Existing Home Sales (millions)

 
Week Ahead 

May 28 — Durable Goods report

May 29 — Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index

June 1 — Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Index

June 5 — Employment Report

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