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Politics & MoneyReal Estate

Existing home sales data: A bad sign for housing market?

What we need is more inventory or higher rates

for-sale-sign-HW

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales for April’s housing market came in at 5,850,000. This was a miss from estimates and the third straight month of declines in sales.

I have been saying we should expect home sales to moderate since the end of summer 2020, and that is what we see in this report. This sales trend looks very normal to me. We saw a massive move-up in sales in the second half of 2020 and now were are getting the correcting declines. In the last existing home sales article for HousingWire, I wrote that we should see some sales prints under 5,840,000. We didn’t see that in this report but we should see some in the future.

My biggest fear for the U.S. housing market for 2020 to 2024 is that home prices could escalate to an unhealthy level. Since the end of summer 2020, I have been expressing this concern in various interviews, including on Bloomberg Financial.

Having the best housing demographics ever during the years 2020-2024, along with the lowest mortgage rates, gives you the best supply of replacement buyers ever. This is one of those advantage/disadvantage situations. The disadvantage is that total inventory levels are shallow, creating a bidding frenzy for the few homes on the market without too much growth in mortgage demand. Even though we do not see a credit boom, the bulk of existing-home sales demand is from primary-residence mortgage buyers.

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