Pending home sales slump again
If you're looking for a pulse in the U.S. housing market, best of luck. I can't seem to find one. Pending home sales fell once again, with broad-based geographic declines and a nominal new low for the index, first published in 2001. Leading indicators like the Mortgage Bankers Association's index of purchase loan applications also can't get off the mat.
What's remarkable about the weakness is that it's coming at a time where mortgage rates are hovering around 4.5%. These aren't just the lowest mortgage rates in the past several years. Some research suggests they're the lowest since before the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk! Unless and until we get a rebound in the labor market, we're just not going to see good things happening in housing.