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Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

New housing market reports suggest home sales are about to turn higher again.

Why it matters: Even though average home prices continue to surge, the number of new and existing homes sold has been falling for months.

Driving the news: Pending home sales — or homes under contract to be sold — unexpectedly jumped 8% in May, the National Association of Realtors revealed Wednesday.

  • "Pending home sales usually lead existing home sales by one or two months, so we likely will see existing home sales move higher in upcoming reports," JPMorgan economist Daniel Silver wrote.
  • Separately, a report from Realtor.com found new listings in June jumped 10.9% from May.

What they’re saying: "The issue for home sales remains tight inventories and a lagging supply response that is boosting prices," High Frequency Economics' Rubeela Farooqi said in an email. "But record high prices are likely an incentive for sellers to come to market."

  • Farooqi added that buyers have also been motivated by low mortgage rates, which some argue is thanks to the Fed.

Be smart: These two reports are not enough to confirm the downward trend of sales has reversed.

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2021 - Podcasts

Rising energy prices around the world

Energy prices are going up around the world as extreme weather becomes the norm and more people are on the move after long stretches of pandemic lockdown.

China and India are facing an electricity crisis, while prices for oil and natural gas roughly doubled over the past year. In the U.S., gas prices are going up by 50%.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Axios’ business editor Kate Marino who’s been reporting on the energy prices.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

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