Housing Market Data Holds Promise for Stabilization

As the spring house-selling season gets underway, new numbers point to an end to the housing downturn, according to Yahoo Finance.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage dropped from 6.32% to 6.28%, according to Freddie Mac, marking the fourth straight week of declines since the regional bank crisis began to pressure Treasury rates.

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The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was down 4% from where it was at the beginning of March.

"While access to commercial mortgage loans could become increasingly difficult, residential mortgage loans are expected to be more readily available," National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release.

Following four straight weeks of increasing mortgage applications, they fell 4.1% during the last week of March, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

"Mortgage rates no longer are rising, but they likely will remain elevated for some time," Ian Shepherdson, Chief Economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note to clients. "That leaves [home] prices to do the heavy lifting if affordability is to improve; prices have fallen by about 5% since the summer, but we look for a further 15% decline over the next year, restoring the pre-Covid price-to-income ratio."

During the first three months of 2023, signed contracts for house sales rose each month in all regions except for the West, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Midwest and South are leading the recovery.

Also, US home builders have reported they are increasingly confident, their optimism showing in The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo's index of builder sentiment, which increased 2 points to 44.

Additionally, housing starts rose 9.8% in February to an annualized rate of 1.45 million homes, the strongest pace of starts since September 2022, the Commerce Department reported. And existing home sales increased 14.5% to an annualized rate of 4.58 million, the largest monthly percentage increase since July 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors.