Getting Harder Not Easier To Find Macro Improvement in Housing

The most recent housing data continues to suggest weakness. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that sales of existing homes were down slightly last month from June. It continues a lower trend dating back to March. Overall, the level of resales is largely flat going back to the summer of 2015.
At a 5.44 million seasonally-adjusted annual rate for July 2017, that is actually slightly less than the 5.45 million (SAAR) estimated for the same month two years earlier. The housing market is not crashing, nor does it appear to be in danger of doing so. But it is also not expanding, either, the latter condition relevant to broader macro analysis beyond real estate.
The primary reason seems to be widespread consumer caution. American homeowners do not appear willing to put up their homes for sale despite rising prices. It is practically the antithesis of the housing mania period from just over a decade ago. That may be in part due to a paradigm shift in expectations and behavior (a lot of people learned something from the bust).

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on August 24, 2017.