Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, July 01, 2010

May pending home sales plunge to record low.

May pending home sales were a disaster. Pending sales of used homes plunged 30% from April, compared with the 14.2% decline economists were expecting. Sales tanked across the board, with a 20.9% decline in the West, a 31.6% drop in the Northeast, a 32.1% decline in the Midwest, and a 33.3% fall in the South. The pending sales index has now fallen to 77.6, the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began tracking the data in 2001.

If you're looking for a silver lining in housing, you aren't going to find it here. Demand has fallen off a cliff in the wake of the tax credit expiration, with pending sales falling by the biggest margin ever to the lowest level ever. The latest report comes in the wake of data showing large declines in new home sales and builder confidence.

What's the problem? Aren't homes cheap? Aren't mortgage rates at record lows? The answers are "yes" and "yes." But the overall economy is rolling over, consumer confidence is slumping and, most importantly, we just aren't creating jobs. It sounds simplistic, but it bears repeating: "No job = No house." And with so many Americans unemployed or underemployed, the housing market is going to keep hurting.


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