US existing home sales dropped for the 11th straight month in December (-1.5% MoM – slightly less than expected thanks to downward revisions of previous months), leading to a record 34% drop year-over-year (worse than the worst drop during the Great Financial Crisis)…
As mortgage rates have risen this year, the buyer demand for homes has fallen. That has spelled trouble for the home construction business. Homebuilder confidence dropped for the tenth straight month in October. The decline in builder sentiment reflects what economist Ian Shepherdson describes as “housing … in free fall.
The U.S. housing market is absolutely imploding, but nobody should be surprised. In fact, we were warned way ahead of time that this would happen. When the Federal Reserve told us that they would be aggressively raising interest rates, we all knew what this would do to the housing bubble. It was obvious that home prices would fall, home sales would plummet and home builders would get absolutely crushed. Sadly, that is precisely what we are witnessing. But instead of reversing course after witnessing all the damage that they have caused, Fed officials are insisting that even more rate hikes are necessary. So as bad as things are right now, the truth is that they are going to get even worse in the months ahead.
The housing market is slowing as higher mortgage rates sideline many prospective homebuyers. With competition declining, the house hunters who are still in the market are enjoying newfound bargaining power, a striking contrast from just a few months ago, when buyers often had to pull out every stop in order to win.