Dec 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

Housing and consumer confidence sputter

Data: NAR; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: NAR; Chart: Axios Visuals

Momentum in the housing market is slowing, just as consumer confidence is also showing weakness.

Why it matters: Year-end economic data tells a familiar 2020 tale of the haves and the have nots staking out their positions in the final months of the year.

Driving the news: U.S. home sales ended a five-month streak, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Tuesday. Existing homes for sale in November fell 2.5% from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in November.

Yes, but: In spite of the pandemic, total sales skyrocketed 25.8% to 5.32 million when compared to the prior year.

  • Median home prices also increased 14.5% to $310,800 from November 2019.

By the numbers: As coronavirus continues to rage, the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dipped in December to 88.6, versus 92.9 in November. Assessment of current business and labor market conditions also took a dive to 90.3 from 105.9.

What they're saying: "The US economy is showing a bifurcated outcome," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

"So those who are homeowners and have exposure to the stock market, and office workers who can work from home, are immune to recession. It's all good for half of the country."

What to watch: More data points will be added to the economic picture today, with jobless claims, consumer spending, home sales and manufacturing statistics all on deck for release.

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