Gold prices holding at session highs as U.S. existing home sales fall 2.4% in April
(Kitco News) - The gold market continues to trade near session highs, supported by more disappointing economic data. Rising interest rates continue to cool down the U.S. housing market as fewer consumers purchased home last month, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Existing home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate of 5.61 million units last month, down 2.4% compared to March's annualized rate of 5.75 million homes, the NAR said on Thursday. Market consensus projections called for existing home sales to fall only slightly to 5.65 million.
For the year, home sales are down 5.9%, the report said.
The gold market has seen some renewed technical buying momentum, which has been supported by weaker-than-expected economic data. June gold futures last traded at $1,842.40 an ounce, up nearly 1.5% on the day.
The U.S. housing sector has faced some challenging headwinds as the Federal Reserve looks to aggressively raise interest rates, which in turn is pushing mortgage rates higher.
"Higher home prices and sharply higher mortgage rates have reduced buyer activity," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "It looks like more declines are imminent in the upcoming months, and we'll likely return to the pre-pandemic home sales activity after the remarkable surge over the past two years."
Yun noted that the falling sales space is helping to boost the supply of existing homes. The report said that the inventory of homes for sale totaled 1,030,000 in April, representing a 2.2-month supply.
Although sales are down, Yun said that home prices still remain elevated.
"The market is quite unusual as sales are coming down, but listed homes are still selling swiftly, and home prices are much higher than a year ago," he said.
The report said the median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $391,200, up 14.8% from April 2021.