NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz provided this housing industry overview in the bi-weekly newsletter Eye on the Economy:
New and existing home sales stumbled in September, as higher interest rates slowed the housing sector amid otherwise positive macroeconomic conditions — including a near 50-year low for unemployment. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage now stands at 4.9%, up from 3.95% a year ago.
Due to the higher cost of financing, new single-family home sales fell 5.5% in September from a downwardly revised August estimate. While new home sales remain 3.5% higher on a year-to-date basis, the September rate was the lowest since December 2016. Consequently, inventory increased to an elevated 7.1-months’ supply.
Meanwhile, existing home sales declined 3.4% in September, falling to its slowest pace in nearly three years — and 4.1% lower than a year ago.