On the downside, existing homes sales fell to the lowest level in almost two years, with sales declining to an annual rate of 4.59 million units…the slowest pace since July 2012. The glimmer of good news is that economists were anticipating a drop to a pace of 4.55 million units.
In other not-so-good news, sales of new homes dropped to an eight-month low in March, with a 14.5% decline to an annual rate of 384,000 units. This is the latest setback for the housing market, which has been saddled by higher mortgage rates, weakened affordability, a short supply of homes, and a tough winter.
On the upside, orders for durable goods rose 2.6% in March, with demand increasing in all categories. Orders for computers and electronic equipment saw the biggest spike in over 3 years.
Also on a positive note, consumer sentiment rose to a nine-month high, as views on current and near-term economic conditions improved substantially. The increase pushed the sentiment gauge closer to prerecession levels.