🐪 Good morning! Today Matt's diving into the mechanics of the housing market where high rates continue to roil supply and demand.

  • Just this morning, the Mortgage Bankers Association said the rate on the 30-year mortgage climbed to 6.69%, the highest level since March — another measure had rates above 7% yesterday.

Today's newsletter is 1,099 words, a 4.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Why new home sales are surging

Data: U.S. Census Bureau, National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

You have to fish where the fish are. So, would-be homebuyers are casting their lines in the market for new homes, Matt writes.

Driving the news: Sales of newly built homes jumped a surprising 4% in April, to an annual rate of 683,000, according to data out yesterday.

  • Sales volumes are roughly back to their pre-COVID levels — and are up 11.8% over last year.
  • On the flip side, sales of existing homes are down 23% from last year.

Why it matters: It shows the new housing market has gotten a lift from frustrated buyers facing slim pickings of existing homes.

Context: The surge in mortgage rates over the last year has left a logjam in the existing home market.

  • Demand is down as higher rates made buying houses less affordable to a lot of people.
  • But higher rates have also pushed supply down — as homeowners who might have moved are reluctant to give up the low rate on their mortgages.

The result: Prices for existing homes — the vast majority of homes in the U.S. — have remained stubbornly high. Sales activity is way down.

Meanwhile, the market for newly built homes is a bit more flexible.

  • Since no one is living in the newly built home, no one has to give up a super-low mortgage rate to move.

Between the lines: Homebuilders also appear more willing to cut prices to move their inventory of houses.

What they're saying: "The improving rate of new home sales is a reflection of the high levels of inventories of new homes compared to existing homes," wrote Richard de Chazal, macro analyst with brokerage firm William Blair.

  • "Homebuilders are stuck with excess supply and are increasingly being forced to offer more aggressive incentives to clear the market," he wrote.

The bottom line: For homebuyers looking for a break, it seems to make a lot of sense to take a look at the market for newly built houses.

2. Catch up quick

👑 Elon Musk is displacing Rupert Murdoch as king of conservative media. (Axios)

🏳️‍🌈 Target removes some LGBT Pride Month products after customer complaints. (WSJ)

🍼 Federal Trade Commission is investigating baby formula makers for collusion. (WSJ)

3. Investing's gender confidence gap

Share who say they're mostly or very comfortable investing self-directed retirement savings
Note: Among non-retirees with self-directed retirement savings. Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

Men are far more comfortable investing their own retirement money than women, a new Fed survey shows, Emily writes.

Driving the news: This is across all education levels, but the gap is widest for those with a bachelor's degree or more, per the Federal Reserve's Economic Well-Being Survey.

Which raises a couple of questions: Are men better at investing than women or do they simply believe they're better? And is a high comfort level in investing...a good thing?

Zoom out: There's copious research out there that shows a confidence gender gap when it comes to investing, as the New York Times' Jeff Sommer wrote more than a decade ago.

  • Generally speaking, men are overconfident — often to their detriment, he reported. Overconfidence translates into men trading more — often getting the timing wrong and losing money.
  • Whereas women, who are more ready to admit when they don't know something, will buy and hold.
  • “There’s been a lot of academic research suggesting that men think they know what they’re doing, even when they really don’t know what they’re doing," the head of Vanguard Investment Counseling and Research told him at the time.

The big picture: This latest data point reveals that gap is still fairly wide — and it echoes other research outside of investing.

  • A research paper from 2021 describes a gender gap in self-promotion, where women describe their abilities to employers less favorably than their male peers.

The bottom line: These are, of course, generalizations. Every investor is different, to be sure. And there are some pretty confident and comfortable women investors out there.

  • Readers: Write us with your theories on this one.

4. White-collar job worries

Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

For the first few months of this year, Americans weren’t too concerned about job security — but that seems to have changed in March, according to Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index polling, Axios’ Kate Marino writes.

State of play: We wrote in late March about the initial surge of worries over near-term job losses, wondering at the time if that data would prove to be an anomaly. It was collected in surveys just days after Silicon Valley Bank's collapse, and people were understandably on edge.

  • Two months later those worries have — for the most part — stuck around.

Zoom out: This is even though the unemployment rate actually ticked down to a record low 3.4% in April. And the acute portion of the banking crisis appears to have passed.

Between the lines: The growing jitters are largely driven by the high-income set (those making over $100k).

  • That’s unusual: Historically, the lower-income cohort (under $50k) has almost always had a larger share that’s worried about losing their job in the next month, compared with the higher-income group.
  • But now, about 24% of the high-wage group says they’re worried, compared with just 13% of the low-wage group.

The bottom line: Tech and financial services firms may be downsizing after years of excess, but restaurants and retailers still have “Help wanted” signs.

5. Year of the tarnished titans

Data: Axios Harris Poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

FTX and Tesla, once seen as shining examples of innovation and opportunity, took two of the biggest reputational hits in this year's Axios Harris Poll 100 brand reputation survey.

Why it matters: Amid a crypto collapse and Musk madness, Americans have grown wary and weary of big ideas and powerful moguls who they feel have overpromised and underdelivered, Axios' Sara Fischer and Margaret Talev report.

Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter pushed the social media company's ranking down. It also shook investors' faith in Tesla by making the public more aware of Musk's manic leadership style.

  • Twitter ranked 97th among the 100 brands survey respondents identified as most visible in the country today.
  • Tesla saw one of the biggest reputation drops of the past year, from 11th in 2022 to 62nd place this year.

🏆 Winners: Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia took the No. 1 overall ranking across seven dimensions. Costco, Chick-fil-A and UPS were cited as the three most trusted names.

  • Patagonia has long focused on conservation. The company last year transferred its ownership to two nonprofits structured to put all profits into conservation.
  • The Trump Organization finished dead last for the second year in a row.

Read the full story

🎧 1 last thing: You can spend more time with us by listening to Emily on Axios Today. She's guest-hosting the podcast for the rest of the week.

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Axios Markets was edited by Kate Marino and copy edited by Mickey Meece.