U.S. existing home sales tumbled to a two-year low in May as prices jumped to a record high-topping the $400,000 mark for the first time- and mortgage rates increased further, the National Association of Realtors reported today, June 21.
It was the fourth straight monthly drop in sales.
Existing home sales fell 3.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.41 million units last month, the lowest level since June 2020 when sales were rebounding from the COVID-19 lockdown slump. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales would decrease to an annual rate of 5.40 million units. Existing home sales, which account for the bulk of U.S. home sales, tumbled 8.6% on a year-on-year basis.
The May drop probably understates downward trends in the current housing market since May’s sales were mostly closings on contracts signed one to two months ago.
Today’s number is in tune with recent data on housing starts, building permits, and homebuilder sentiment that all show the housing market losing speed as mortgage rates rise with the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases. The interest rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped 55 basis points last week to a 13-1/2-year high average of 5.78%, according to data from Freddie Mac. That was the largest one-week increase since 1987. The rate is up 1.2 percentage points since January.