Gold ticks up as U.S. pending home sales surge in May
(Kitco News) Gold attempted to recover some of its early-morning losses as the U.S. pending home sales surprised on the upside in May.
The U.S. pending home sales were up 8% in May, rebounding after April’s 4.4% drop, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Wednesday. Consensus forecasts were calling for a decrease of 0.8%.
The pending home sales index came in at 114.7 in May, marking the highest May reading since 2005.
Also, pending home sales were up 13.1% from a year ago as low mortgage rates drove demand.
"May's strong increase in transactions – following April's decline, as well as a sudden erosion in home affordability – was indeed a surprise," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "The housing market is attracting buyers due to the decline in mortgage rates, which fell below 3%, and from an uptick in listings."
Even all-time high housing prices and record-low inventories are not stopping the buyers from lining up, added Yun.
"While these hurdles have contributed to pricing out some would-be buyers, the record-high aggregate wealth in the country from the elevated stock market and rising home prices are evidently providing funds for home purchases,” Yun said. "More market listings will appear in the second half of 2021, in part from the winding down of the federal mortgage forbearance program and from more home building.
Pending home sales were the strongest in the Northeast, rising 15.5% on a monthly basis in May. The index also rose 6.7% in the Midwest.
Economists pay close attention to the pending home sales numbers because the index is seen as a forward-looking barometer for the housing market. A lag of a month or two usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.
Gold prices edged up after the data were released, trading largely flat on the day. August Comex gold futures were last at $1,762.80, down 0.05% on the day.