Existing home sales plunged 7.1% MoM in February, massively missing expectations of a 3.0% drop. Absent the regulation-driven drop in November, this is the largest MoM drop since July 2010 as realtors warn that “home prices and rents outpacing wages and anxiety about the health of the economy are holding back a segment of would-be buyers.”
Median prices appear to have ended in an airpocket:
As NAR reports,
After increasing to the highest annual rate in six months, existing-home sales tumbled in February amidst unshakably low supply levels and steadfast price growthin several sections of the country, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Led by the Northeast and Midwest, all four major regions experienced sales declines in February.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 7.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in February from 5.47 million in January. Despite last month’s large decline, sales are still 2.2 percent higher than a year ago.
And then Larry Yun tries to explain, it was the weather, the stock drop, and bubbly home prices and weakness in the economy
“Sales took a considerable step back in most of the country last month, and especially in the Northeast and Midwest,” he said. “The lull in contract signings in January from the large East Coast blizzard, along with the slump in the stock market, may have played a role in February’s lack of closings. However, the main issue continues to be a supply and affordability problem. Finding the right property at an affordable price is burdening many potential buyers.”
However, according to Yun, job growth continues to hum along at a robust pace, but there appears to be some uneasiness among households that the economy is losing some steam. This was evident in NAR’s latest quarterly HOME survey – released earlier this month – which revealed that fewer respondents believe the economy is improving, and a smaller share of renters said that now is a good time to buy a home.
“The overall demand for buying is still solid entering the busy spring season, but home prices and rents outpacing wages and anxiety about the health of the economy are holding back a segment of would-be buyers,” says Yun.
Which is odd since President Obama said everything was awesome.
Finally, there appears to have been an odd jump in investor purchases this February, suggesting that the Chinese capital controls evaders are back front and center: