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More than a decade since the housing bubble burst, the negative impacts are still permeating the U.S. economy. Although U.S. housing data has looked strong for the last few years, the recent negative impacts from tariffs, rising labor costs, and commodity price inflation are challenging the stability of the market. Prices of new construction are moving higher, putting pressure on demand. More importantly, rising mortgage rates have significantly impacted affordability, which has also slowed demand. Together, this has led to fairly weak housing data over the last 6 months. As evident by the chart above, the monthly supply of new homes moved significantly higher in the back half of 2018. This quick move higher is starting to impact builders’ confidence and a slowdown of new construction could be on the horizon. However, it’s possible only a short-term slowdown is necessary to rebalance supply and demand. With mortgage rates declining rather significantly over the last few weeks, we will be watching the impact increased affordability has on sales and price activity.
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