Housing was weak in May. Existing home sales fell by 3.4% from April. This is the fourth consecutive month of decreases. The decrease brings home sales to 2019 levels according to the National Association of Realtors. Another insight from the report is an evening of demand between single family homes and condominiums. Throughout the pandemic, there was a preference for single-family homes. Despite the drop in existing home sales, the median price increased. The $407,600 price for the month is the highest median home price ever and the first time this metric has crossed $400,000.
Housing starts dropped 14.4% from April to May. The slowdown in starts is indicative of supply and demand constraints. On the supply side, materials are still expensive. On the demand side, increasing mortgage rates have priced out many from home ownership. On the other hand, house completions were up 9.1%.
The number of building permits issued was lower in May. The 1.695 million permits issued compares unfavorably with the previous month’s 1.823 million and the expected 1.8 million.