Higher Mortgage Rates Begin to Bite
Home Sales Slow as Buying Conditions Worsen
- Total existing home sales fell 2.7% to a 5.77 million-unit pace during March. February’s sharp decline was revised slightly lower to an 8.6% drop. Overall sales are down 4.5% from March 2021.
- The recent pullback in sales has occurred against a backdrop of increasingly challenging buying conditions. In addition to historically low inventory levels and fast-rising home prices, mortgage rates have moved sharply higher, although most buyers who closed in March likely locked in mortgage rates well below current levels.
- According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year commitment rate was 4.17% in March. Mortgage News Daily reported that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage hit 5.35% on April 19th, the highest since 2009.
- Single-family sales declined by 2.7%, while condo and co-op sales fell 3.0%.
- Resales declined in the Northeast (-2.9%), Midwest (-4.5%) and South (-3.0%), but held steady in the West.
- The modest pullback in demand has led to slightly more homes for sale on the market. Inventories remain remarkably tight, but increased 11.8% to 950,000 in March.