The Housing Market Is Approaching Its Slow Season. Why Home Builder Stocks Might Not Be.

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Home building shares often perform well in the later part of the year as companies discuss their plans for 2024. Data in recent weeks have painted a languid picture of housing market activity heading into the fall.

Existing-home sales in July—the most recent month for which National Association of Realtors data is available—fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.07 million, the lowest such reading since January.

Other data points offer little hope for significant improvement in the coming months. Pending home sales, a measure based on contract signings, gained in July for the second consecutive month, but remained well below year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors.

August data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, meanwhile, suggest that home purchase demand remained low overall last month. “Elevated mortgage rates and tight housing inventory continue to weigh on home buying activity,” Joel Kan, the mortgage bankers group’s deputy chief economist, said in a statement.

This year has been a difficult one to buy a house, particularly for consumers shopping for a previously owned home.

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