Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

The contrast of new and existing U.S. home sales over the past few months portends an interesting potential long-term change for the U.S. economy.

Driving the news: Existing home sales fell to their lowest level in nearly 10 years last month, with prices rising by the smallest annual amount in more than eight years.

  • Those numbers reflect closings on contracts signed in March and April, and pending sales of existing homes for those months showed declines of 20.8% and 21.8% respectively.

On the other side: Sales of new single-family homes unexpectedly rose slightly in April, despite the lockdowns, after falling by 13.7% in March.

  • Overall, economists expect that the worst of the housing market declines are in the past, as mortgage purchase applications rose to their highest level in 11 years last week.

The big picture: A housing shift may be accelerating from cities, where existing homes dominate, to suburbs, which are packed with new houses.

What they're saying: Danielle Hale, chief economist at, says in a note that she's expecting new home sales to rebound even further in May.

  • New home sales are "benefiting from still-limited availability of existing homes for sale coupled with surging homebuyer demand including renewed interest in suburbs and the extra space they enable buyers to afford."
  • Data from shows views per property in suburban zip codes grew by 13%, nearly doubling the pace of growth compared to urban areas in May.
  • Suburban properties have outpaced urban for some time. However, "May marks the largest gap in this discrepancy since we started tracking the metric in 2016, aside from one month in September 2018," the company notes in a recent blog post.

Go deeper: Coronavirus crisis expected to drag neighborhoods deeper into poverty

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

Lower rates, less risk

Expand chart
Data: St. Louis Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

Perhaps more important than sustained demand, the mortgage financing landscape now is "very different from 2006," Danielle Hale, chief economist for tells Axios.

By the numbers: She cites metrics like the Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage credit availability index, which found credit supply at its lowest level since March 2014 in August, and well below where it stood in 2006, at "over 800."

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going

Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's index of real-time data reversed again in the last week, with data continuing to show a slow but recovering economy that is having trouble returning to its pre-pandemic strength.

What happened: The index was unexpectedly weaker given solid data on U.S. retail sales and the massive outperformance of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

Conference Board's surging consumer confidence reading may be an outlier

Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 101.8 in September from 86.3 in August after two straight monthly declines.

Why it matters: The reading was the largest increase in 17 years, the best reading since March and was nearly 12 points above consensus expectations.

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