Housing and Economic Indicators Negative for March and April
According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Monday Economic Report for this week, the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index decreased 1.2% in March, falling for the 12th straight month to its lowest level since November 2020. Over the past six months, the LEI has declined 4.5%, suggesting weaker growth over the next few months.
Homebuilders’ expectations about the housing market were negative for the ninth consecutive month according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. While negative, the reading did inch up from 44 to 45 and was the highest reading since September. Readings below 50 are consistent with more builders feeling negative than positive in their views of the housing market.
Existing home sales in March declined 2.4% from 4.55 million units at the annual rate in February to 4.44 million units in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales weakened in every region of the country except the Northeast, which was flat. Single-family sales fell 2.7% from 4.10 million units to 3.99 million units. The housing market has been challenged over the past year by issues of affordability, and on a YoY basis, existing home sales dropped 22.0% from 5.69 million units in March 2022.
The unsold inventory of existing homes for sale on the market remained at 2.6 months in March for the second straight month, continuing to be around historic lows. The median sales price was $375,700 in March, down 0.9% from one year ago.