• New Home Listings Increase, Office Use Drops, Consumer Inflation Expectations Rise

    New Home Listings Increase, Office Use Drops, Consumer Inflation Expectations Rise

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    New home listings increased in the four-week period that ended July 4 in a move that could give potential homebuyers more options. (Pexels)
    New home listings increased in the four-week period that ended July 4 in a move that could give potential homebuyers more options. (Pexels)

    New Home Listings Increase

    Potential homebuyers may be starting to see some relief.

    Residential real estate firm Redfin reported that the number of new listings of homes increased 4% in the four weeks that ended July 4 from the same time a year earlier. The number is 3% higher than the same month in 2019, marking the first time that new listings have surpassed 2019 levels since the first of this year, according to the firm’s data.

    While buyers may have a few more choices, they aren’t getting much of a break yet on prices. The new listings carry a median asking price of $359,500, down 1.1% from the previous month but still up 12% from a year earlier.

    Redfin said 55% of the homes sold above list price, a record in the nine years the firm has been tracking the data. That is up from 27% a year earlier.

    Buyers have started backing away from the market because of prices reaching record levels from near record inventory lows. Existing homes and new construction sales have started to decline as a result.

    “Buyers don't have the same sense of urgency that they did at the beginning of the year,” Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist, said in a statement. “They aren't racing to buy before prices increase, because asking prices have already increased and stabilized.”

    Office Use Drops

    Employees heading out for vacation during the July Fourth holiday helped reverse weeks of gains in office usage.

    All major metropolitan areas where Falls Church, Virginia-based security firm Kastle Systems has clients saw office use fall for the week that ended July 7.

    Kastle gathers anonymous employee data from workplaces where it provides access-control technology. While it is only a sampling of buildings by one security company, the data gives a peek into how employees and employers are responding to office use during the pandemic.

    The July Fourth observance holiday fell on a Monday this year, which meant many offices were closed. But employees also took a long weekend or the entire week off.

    Denver dipped the most, dropping 5.7 percentage points to 30.4%. The Boston area was next, with a 5.3 percentage point drop to 30.1%.

     

    Consumer Inflation Expectations Rise

    Consumers now expect inflation to go even higher, according to a June survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    Consumer expectations where inflation is headed over the next year grew 0.8% to 4.8%, the highest increase in the eight-year history of the New York Fed’s survey. They still expect that inflation will be at 3.6% in three years.

    The Federal Reserve has tried to allay fears that the rise in inflation will hold. Fed officials have said the inflation will come in at 3% this year and fall below that next year.

    Meanwhile, consumers expectations about where the unemployment rate will be a year from now dropped to a low. Fear of losing their jobs decreased to a series low as well.