Week in Review: April 18-22
This week, instead of organizing the Week in Review by the day of the data release, we’re going to have a list of data releases by day at the top and then supply an overview of the week by topic. We think this is a more logical (and useful) layout, at least occasionally, but let me know if you prefer it the way I’ve been doing it.
Speaking of changes, note the (purely aesthetic) name change to Sage Economics. This doesn’t affect anything other than the header at the top of the website.
Now, on to the week that was, including housing stats, a busy week at the White House, and more.
Mortgage applications (Mortgage Bankers Association)
Mortgage rates (Freddie Mac)
Higher Mortgage Rates Hit Demand Side of Housing Market
The average fixed rate 30-year mortgage rate climbed to 5.11% for the week ending April 21, the highest average rate since the middle of 2009. Not coincidentally, National Association of Realtors® data indicate that existing home sales fell 2.7% in March and are now down about 11% since January.
The good news (from the perspective of buyers and realtors) is that inventory increased for the first time since July 2021, rising 12% during March. The bad news is that inventory is still down almost 10% from the same time last year. Mortgage application tell the same story, down 5% from the previous week. Refinance activity, which declined 8% for the week and is down 68% year over year, has been and will be especially impacted by the surge in rates.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) also hints at a slowing market. The Current Sales Index for April fell to its lowest level since September 2021. The Traffic of Prospective Buyers index dipped to its lowest level since August 2021. The index for single family sales actually inched higher in April but is down 14% since December.