After surging far more than expected in December and January (and beaten expectations in each of the last six months), new home sales were expected to slide in February (despite the unexpected jump in existing home sales as mortgage rates took a pause from their blast off higher).
The NAHB index rose two points to 44 in March, according to a Wednesday press release. The mild rise in homebuilder confidence exceeded economists’ expectations; a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) poll of economists believed the index would drop to 40. The NAHB’s March score is the highest reading since September 2022.
Mortgage rates have doubled over the past year and this has hit housing affordability hard. How much housing prices will retrench is still up in the air. Consider the whole premise housing prices in America are about to fall like a stone may be overdone. Hard economic times could very well take a greater toll on the price of intangible assets and paper promises than on things like housing.