Existing Home Sales Up 5.1%, Beat Analyst Forecasts
The US real estate market continued to be mixed in March, according to the latest National Association of Realtors data, which showed that US existing home sales climbed 5.1% for the month “to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million,” the AP reports. This follows February’s 7.3% decline in existing home sales to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.07 million. In March, existing home sales rose the most in the Midwest and Northeast, the AP reports, suggesting that nationwide, “cheaper borrowing costs have…aided home buying,” with Freddie Mac saying that average mortgage rates “slipped to 3.58 percent from 3.59 percent in the prior week.” Bloomberg News reports that the latest NAR data showed a better result for March existing home sales than “the median forecast of 75 economists in a Bloomberg survey [that] called for a rise to 5.28 million.” Bloomberg points out that strong hiring and low borrowing costs are playing a big role “in supporting housing at a time the economy is restrained by fragile manufacturing and weak global markets.” However, Bloomberg cautions that “faster wage growth and more participation from first-time homebuyers would help usher further gains in sales.” The Wall Street Journal reports that NAR said there were 1.98 million existing homes available for sale at the end of the month, a 1.5% decrease from the number available a year earlier and representing a 4.5-month supply.
What This Means For Small Businesses
The housing market continues to be in flux following the recession. Though the latest data suggest some improvement in existing home sales, federal policies have continued to contribute to market uncertainty. Small businesses involved in the housing market, particularly those in the construction industry, are likely in for a continued bumpy path forward as the market fluctuates.
Reuters also covers the story.
Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.