The rise in active listings in the housing market this spring is a reminder that zombies are slowly rising from the grave. Yes, the seasonal low for housing inventory was April 14th. However, this year’s increase in active listings has been lukewarm at best.
Here’s a quick recap of last week:
- Increased total number of active listings 662 Weekly new listing data remains at record lows.
- Mortgage rates fell last week, starting the week at 6.65%, dropping to 6.49% and ending the week at 6.55%.
- Purchase requests data rose 5% weekly as interest rates continue to fall, impacting weekly data.
weekly housing inventory
Well, the best thing to say about stock for Spring 2023 is that we found the season trough a few weeks ago. On the positive side, at least we’re seeing an increase in inventory. With new listings data hovering at record lows, some worried that we might not see any increase in active listings in the spring. This does not appear to be the case in 2023.
However, new listings data is highly seasonal, with less than two months left before it begins to decline again. We had hoped for more active listings by that time frame, but unfortunately that was not the case. Actually this row of data is completely crazy.
How crazy are you?
Between April 22nd and April 29th of last year, total single-family home inventory was 16,311 in that week.This year, from the seasonal low on April 14th to now, a full month, total available inventory has increased only marginally. 14,913.
- Weekly Inventory Fluctuation (May 5-12): Inventory is 419,725 To 420,381
- Same week of the previous year (May 6-13): In stock 300,481 To 312,857
- 2022 inventory bottom is 240,194
- 2023 peak so far 472,680
- For context, see this week’s active list. 2015 it was 1,108,932
Although new listing data is increasing every week, this year is still hovering at record lows, according to Altos Research. Given that people who sell homes are also natural homebuyers, it’s easy to see why the housing market crashed last year after a roller coaster ride in mortgage rates. Mortgage rates topped 6.25%, then bounced back to 5% and then surged to 7.37%. Unable to recover from rising mortgage rates, 2023 will be affected.
Last year’s new listing data was at a record low, but at least it was on an upward trend year-on-year. After late 2022, that will no longer be the case.
Weekly new listing data for this week in May for the last 3 years:
- 2023: 62,382
- 2022: 73,515
- 2021: 71,191
New list data for the previous year in the same week to provide a historical perspective:
- 2017: 90,112
- 2016: 82,621
- 2015: 98,436
The NAR data goes back several decades and shows how difficult it was to bring the total number of active listings back into the historical range of 2 million to 2.5 million. The next existing home sales report comes out this week and should increase the number of active listings, which has hovered at 980,000 active listings over the past three months.
NAR: Monthly Active Listings
NAR: Total valid listed data going back to 1982
I am often asked about the significant differences between NAR and Altos Research inventory data. This link explains the differences. Overall, inventory data tends to move together even when different sources process other numbers and use different methodologies.
10-Year Yield and Mortgage Interest Rates
One of the most important economic storylines heading into 2023 is the refusal of the 10-year yield to drop below the critical levels I’ve been talking about for the past few months, between 3.37% and 3.42%. to be I believed this level to be very difficult to beat, hence the name Gandalfline on the Sands. No matter how crazy things get in 2023, the 10-year yield has only crossed it once, at the height of a banking crisis. It didn’t last long and quickly returned to high ground.
As you can see from the chart below, the sand line has been tested many times.
When I talk about mortgage rates, it’s really about what the 10-year yield feels like that year. In our forecast for 2023, we said that if the economy held strong, the range of 10-year bond yields should be: 3.21% and 4.25%be equivalent to 5.75% To 7.25% mortgage interest rate.
Now, if the economy weakens, meaning the labor market sees a notable increase in unemployment claims, the 10-year bond yield should fall. 3.21%go all the way 2.72%. As a result, the mortgage interest rate will be 6%and could fall below this if spreads return to normal Five% Mortgage interest rates again. Yes, again he said 5% or less.
Can you imagine the housing market at that point?
But for that to happen, unemployment claims would need to rise to: 323,000 and 4-week moving average. Yes, there was a significant increase in the number of unemployment claims last week. However, this data line can have weird quirks from week to week, so focus more on trends and his 4-week moving average than on 1-week data.
From the St. Louis Fed: “First-time claims for unemployment benefits increased by 22,000 to 264,000 in the week ending May 6. The four-week moving average also rose to 245,250.”
Mortgage rates didn’t move much last week, but as the year progresses, we’ll be tracking more economic data for clues about the economic cycle and where mortgage rates are headed.
Purchase application data
The dynamics of the U.S. housing market changed from Nov. 9, 2022, when purchase application data began to react more positively as mortgage rates fell. Since then, the data has been adjusted for holidays, resulting in 17 positive prints each week versus 7 negative prints. So far, 10 positive prints and 7 negative prints since the beginning of the year.
Last week’s weekly data showed a 5% positive print, while the year-over-year data showed a 32% decline.
I see this data line as just a stabilization of the housing demand data that plummeted in 2022. But this stabilization is very important given the consequences it has had. It changed the dynamics of housing.
When housing demand collapsed last year, low inventory wasn’t much of a shield against a big drop in prices. Of course, since the start of the overheating in 2022, the price has turned negative month by month in the second half of this year. Since November 9th, the overall housing trend has shifted from a collapse in demand to a stabilization in demand.
This explains the more robust pricing in 2023 due to the low inventory environment. Purchase apps look ahead 30-90 days before sales data is reached, so there is no sudden recovery data like we saw during the COVID-19 recovery. But today we have good news about stabilization.
I traditionally weigh this line of data from the second week of January onwards to the first week of May, but as we enter the second week of May, app purchase data for 2023 is It is slightly positive, and it can be said that it is definitely stabilizing. The mortgage demand market is booming, with mortgage rates still above 6%.
A week ahead: big housing data coming out
The housing-related economic data in particular has been particularly busy this week. We have builders trust data, housing starts, and existing home sales. on monday, New York Fed Quarterly credit and liability updates. These charts are my favorites because they show that US credit stress today is different than what we saw in his 2008 preparatory phase.
Now that the foreclosure process has started again, we must try to get back to pre-coronavirus levels. However, 30-, 60-, and 90-day delinquency rates are near record lows, and it took a long time for the credit stress seen from 2005 to 2008, before the unemployment recession, to build up.
Retail sales will be released on Tuesday, but the report could move the bond market. As the year progresses, all these reports will give us more clues as to where the economy is headed. This is crucial because economic data can move bond markets, and the factors driving 10-year rates up and down also affect mortgage rates. Lower mortgage rates could accelerate inventory drawdowns during the fall-winter seasonal decline.