It was another difficult week for prospective home buyers. Existing home sales for April were lighter than expected and down 2.7% from the previous month. The decline to 5.85 million, lower than the expected 6.08 million, makes April the third consecutive month of declines. Year-over-year, sales are up 33.9%. The median existing-home sales price is up 19.1% over the year to $341,600. Housing supply issues continue to impact this indicator.
New home sales for April at 863,000 were also down from March’s 917,000. High prices on building materials are leading to a slowing completion of projects. We have seen some builders sitting on already laid foundations just waiting for the cost of materials to come down. The median price for new homes was $372,400.
The number of building permits issued in April was lower than the expected 1.77 million at 1.76 million. Despite the number being lower than expected, it is a lot stronger than the five-year historical average of 1.377 million a month.
Home prices, as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index, show an increase in prices of 1.6%. This month’s increase contributes to a year-over-year home price increase of 13.3%. Prices have been impacted not just by supply issues but also an increased demand for homes.
The outlook on manufacturing remains positive. The Markit PMI Manufacturing number for May was at 61.5. Higher than the expected and previous month’s reading of 60.5. A reading over 50 is considered a positive indicator.
The Philadelphia Fed Index on the other hand, a measure of manufacturing activity in the Third Federal Reserve District, was lower than expected at 31.5. And, 42.3 was expected, which was already down from the previous month’s reading of 50.2. The Richmond Fed number, measuring manufacturing activity in the Fifth District, was also down. May’s record of 18 is lower than the expected 19.
Consumer confidence continues to be high at 117.2. It looks like people expect the economy to keep growing.
Over the one-week period, equity markets are up 1.98%, led by the communication services and information technology sectors. The energy and utilities sectors are the only areas that saw negative returns this week. Energy continues to be the best performing sector year-to-date with performance of 39.04%.
Source: BTC Capital Management, Bloomberg LP, Ibbotson Associates, FactSet, Refinitiv.
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