Existing home sales fell for the seventh straight month in August as rising interest rates continued to sideline potential home buyers, and prices are finally starting to fall from record highs as experts project that the next few months could help ease the housing sector’s long-standing affordability crisis.
Existing home sales ticked down 0.4% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8 million in August, down from 6 million one year ago after declines across the U.S., according to data released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.
In a statement, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun called the housing sector “most sensitive to” the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes and said the softness in home sales reflects this year’s escalating mortgage rates, which peaked at 6% last week and have driven up the cost of monthly payments on new mortgages by more than 55%, an average of hundreds of dollars each month.
Amid the falling demand, the median existing home price has tumbled from a record high of $413,800 in June to $389,500 in August, down for a second straight month to the lowest level since March after breaking a five-month streak of gains.
The 7.7% yearly uptick in August home prices was the slowest year-over-year increase since June 2020, and NAR projects the median existing home price could fall more than 5% to $380,000 by the end of this year.
Others are eyeing steeper losses: In a Wednesday note, Pantheon Macro chief economist Ian Shepherdson said he expects a “sustained decline” in the sector through next spring, with prices falling as much as 20% from their peak by the middle of next year and in time helping rent inflation, which climbed 7% year over year last month, come down next year.
“Sales lag mortgage applications, which continue to fall and point to further significant declines,” Shepherdson said, predicting sales are on course to drop by another 10% or so within the next two months and adding that “even that might not be the low,” depending on what happens to mortgage rates over the next few weeks.
“Inventory will remain tight in the coming months and even for the next couple of years,” Yun says. “Some homeowners are unwilling to trade up or trade down after locking in historically low mortgage rates in recent years, increasing the need for more new-home construction to boost supply.”
On Wednesday, real estate brokerage Redfin reported that the ten regions where housing is cooling the fastest are almost all either costly West Coast markets, or places that drew scores of relocating home buyers during the pandemic and became significantly less affordable. They include San Jose, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver.
“Housing, in short, is in recession, and everything connected to housing either is in recession now or soon will be, but the rest of the economy is not in recession because a regular housing downturn is not enough to crash the 90% of [gross domestic product] that is not housing,” says Shepherdson.
Critics by Amanda Lauren
Fall has arrived and if you think your home needs a little upgrading after the summer, you’re probably right. But while most people associate fall decor with pumpkin spice, the color brown, tacky statement pillows, or home fragrances that smell like food, a fall refresh doesn’t have to mean any of this. We’re not quite ready for the holidays, so there is plenty of time to focus on spaces such as bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms by adding fresh bedding, chic accessories and luxurious home fragrances. From new launches to old favorites, here’s everything your home needs right now.
Still working from home? Say farewell to ordinary office chairs. Why not upgrade your comfort and style at the same time with a chic office chair from Elizabeth Sutton Collection? After all, you need to sit somewhere. With several styles available and a choice of gold or silver casters, and a white or black frame, these add a true pop of fun to any workspace.
Trying to manifest more this fall? It’s easy when you’re burning a Jill & Ally The Elements Crystal Candle. The brand is owned by everyone’s favorite New York Housewife Jill Zarin. Choose from blue agate (water), red agate (fire), green fluorite (earth), or clear quartz (air). Whether you use this candle as part of a manifestation ritual or just as decor, it’s a great way to add color or change the vibe of a room instantly. When the candle is finished burning, keep the crystal.
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth, this cool yet stylish portrait is the perfect way to pay tribute to Her Majesty in a living room, bedroom, or even dining room. Available in two sizes, it has been selling like hot crumpets. If you’re the only queen in your home, Cheery Designs has a great selection of unique pieces that might be more suitable.
Got too much sand in your sheets this summer? Treat yourself to something new. Boll and Branch recently launched a super luxurious Reserve Sheet Set. Made from the longest staple 100 percent organic cotton available, it’s impossible to go wrong with these sheets. Get ready for the silk-like feel to help lull you to sleep.
Those with more modern tastes will appreciate The Citizenry’s Stone Washed Linen Sheet Set. Available in a variety of colors and styles, including White, Olive, and Gingham, these sheets are a great way to warm up a modern bedroom. Don’t forget a linen bathrobe to match.
Launching on September 21st, Weezie Shower Curtains are the ideal bathroom accessory in a traditional to contemporary style bathroom. They complement the brand’s signature monogrammed towels instantly elevating the space to new levels of sophistication. Choose from two sizes and blue or grey scalloped edges.
However, if it is your kitchen that needs a little something extra, the L’Avant Collective Marble Dish Soap Kitchen Counter Tray will automatically boost your sink space. Made from the finest white Banswara marble and featuring brass accent details, it’s a chic way to display all of your favorite L’Avant Collective products.
Jenni Kayne’s cookware collaboration with Staub couldn’t possibly be any more stylish if the designer tried. Made in France, the White Truffle hue is the epitome of magnifique. Choose from an Oval Gratin or a Round Cocotte dish in a choice of two sizes. Each one has an exclusive nickel steel knob. It’s the perfect marriage of understated and jaw-dropping.
This topaz tumbler from curated online marketplace Berner and Co is a sleek way to serve everything from sparkling water to cool cocktails at your Fall soiree (or just to make any meal feel a bit more festive). Take your tablescape to brand new heights with these fabulous drinking vessels.
Speaking of tablescapes, there’s no easier way to create one than with The Bouqs new fall flower collection. Whether you prefer white arrangements, something with crimsons and oranges, or perhaps plants instead of flowers, there is something for every aesthetic. Better yet, with a subscription, you can send a monthly arrangement to yourself or to someone else and change it up each month.
But if you want to buy an arrangement and have it last for up to a year, it’s impossible to go wrong with Venus Et Fleur. The new stone collection is a welcome upgrade from the brand’s signature packaging. While the marble vessels are undeniably luxe, the sandstone vases are a great complement to a minimalist room. Choose from a variety of roses and other arrangements.
Forget books of matches and disposable plastic lighters, Seth Rogen has figured out a way for matches to go upscale with the Houseplant Pebble Match Strike. It looks like two stones, but open up this modern objéct to find a stash of matches. Keep it on a bar cart, side table or to decorate a bookshelf.
But sometimes fires aren’t always welcome, which is why it’s important for every home to have a fire extinguisher within reach. Fortunately, Weston Table makes decorative and functional ones. Choose from a variety of styles from constellations to whale and dog designs. This also makes a smart housewarming gift. Ten percent of sales are donated to the National Parks Foundation.
Fable recently launched a gorgeous collection of dinnerware perfect for any fall table. Cool and modern, the green color is a simple way to add a rustic hue to your table, whether you’re having a dinner party or just want to make things look nicer every day.
But those with more traditional tastes will absolutely fawn over Dondolo’s tabletop collaboration with dress designer Sue Sartor. Choose from Peony White or Peony Pale Blue Dinner Plates and Salad Plates. Each item is handcrafted and unique. Don’t forget to add the matching placemats and napkins. What a dreamy way to bring a touch of the south to any table.
Neon Lace’s Drink Dresses serve the same purpose as wine charms without looking hideous. Available in linen or lace, these decorative accessories make everything from wine to coupe glasses look all dressed up for the party.
Why shouldn’t your fridge have a designer touch? These cute Kate Space food containers are the perfect way to store leftover food. The Floral Fields pattern has a lively vintage vibe with a bamboo top that reads “Anything is possible.” Far nicer to eat from on the go than a standard glass food container, it makes any leftover meal taste just a little bit better.
But if your pantry shelves or refrigerator are in desperate need of a makeover, Home+Sort’s line of organizers with mDesign will check every box. From airtight jars perfect for rice to lovely lattice baskets made for holding snacks or boxes of pasta, you will wonder how you ever lived without this indispensable product line.
If you like to display olive oil in the kitchen or on the table, why not choose a delicious one with a stylish bottle such as Branche Olive Oil? This farm-to-bottle extra virgin olive oil is made with olives from the south of Spain. With clean, modern packaging and a wood stopper, design is key here. No 1 has a bolder flavor and features a green bottle while No 2 has a milder flavor and has a white bottle.
Looking for an environmentally friendly way to clean up? Arbour Every Day Spray is the perfect way to do it. This fragrance-free spray works hard to clean up grease, grime, and everyday dirt quickly. Best of all, it is totally safe, non-toxic, and antimicrobial.
If you’re trying to cut down on plastic, live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, or simply dislike those cumbersome bottles of detergent or messy powders— you will love Ecos Plastic-Free Dishwasher Detergent Sheets. Just put a sheet in the soap compartment (you need to fold it a few times) and turn it on your desired setting. Your dishes will come out sparkling clean.
Traditional devotees will love the Coley Porter Side Table. It’s so versatile that it can work as a bedside table, a desk for smaller spaces, or even as a petite bar in a living room or dining room. Available through the brand’s quick ship program, it can be customized with a selection of fabrics and shipped in just ten days.
Why just grab some ice from the refrigerator when you can display it in a beautiful ice bucket from Katie Kime? The ultimate bar cart accessory, this bucket is available in lucite, gold and silver as well as more than 37 patterns and colors. Don’t forget to add a monogram. This also makes a very thoughtful gift, especially for someone who frequently entertains.
Make this lucite dish from ArtSugar the true star of your coffee table or nightstand. Perfect for jewelry, tiny candies or just to be decorative, it’s a great accessory for any surface that needs a touch of fun.
Looking for some extra inspiration for your renovations this fall? Interior designer Anne Hepfer’s book Mood has all the inspiration you need. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but this book’s bold royal blue cover is showstopping. Just wait until you see all the beautiful projects featured inside the pages.
Want your home to smell like heaven all the time? Inspired by the scent of exotic white flowers, the Kai Reed Diffuser gets pretty close. With a modern square bottle and brown reeds, it’s a truly decorative accent that also makes a very thoughtful gift. Better yet, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and phosphates. Not into reed diffusers? Candles and room spray are also available in the brand’s signature as well as Rose scents.
But if you prefer to diffuse an essential oil, opt for the Aroma Om Stone Diffuser in stone. Clean and minimalist looking, it features a matte finish and ceramic cover. It mists for up to three hours and shuts off automatically. It can also light up and be used as a nightlight.
34 boulevard Saint Germain is the newest fragrance from famed perfumer Diptyque. The chic candle is packaged in an opaline glass vessel and features notes of black current leave, moss, and florals. It has a spicy woodsy scent that’s undeniably sophisticated. Make any room feel perfectly on brand this fall.
Pets are great, but the odors they create leave much to be desired, especially on carpets and upholstery. Fortunately, Zoop is amazing at getting rid of pet odors and stains. Best of all, it has a fresh scent (not a chemical scent) and each bottle lasts for months. Stock up before it gets sold out again.
Are your knives feeling a little dull? Upgrade this season with a set of highly functional knives that just happen to be sleekly designed. Material knives are made from Japanese stainless steel and high carbon. This set includes a bread knife, paring knife, and chef’s knife. The sage handles simply stun.
There’s nothing that feels like a fresh, new tea towel. Magic Linen Ruffle Trim Linen Tea Towels are just so pretty and classic. Whether you’re drying off plates every day or a platter post-dinner party, these tea towels are a must. Match any kitchen with twelve different colors and prints from neutrals to shades of blue and stripes.