May 2024 MBS Highway Housing Index

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John Smith
January 1, 2023
5 min read

The MBS Highway National Housing Index dropped 1 point in May 2024, as an over 50 basis point jump in mortgage rates during April negated the normal seasonal upswing in activity. Home prices, however, remained in expansion territory (above 50) in all regions.

National Data

The MBS Highway National Housing Index dropped 1 point to 58 in May 2024, from 59 in April 2024. This was the first month-over-month decline experienced since November 2023. In comparison, the index rose 11 points to 64 in May 2023, from 53 in April 2023.

This year's unseasonal decline was driven by a more than 50 basis point (half a percentage point) rise in average 30-year mortgage rates over the course of April. Our survey was conducted at the start of May, when mortgage rates were near 7.5%.

Both the Buyer Activity (53 → 51) and Price Direction (66 → 64) sub-indexes eased by 2 points in May 2024. This is in contrast to the +5 month-over-month gain in the Buyer Activity index and the +17 jump in the Price Direction index seen in May 2023.

Regional Data

While most regions (5 out of 7) saw declining Buyer Activity levels in May 2024, the Midwest surged ahead (54 → 68) to become the country’s most active region for the first time. Not far behind, the Northeast (67 → 66) remained strong, while the Mid-Atlantic (53 → 64) closed the gap with the frontrunners.

The Northwest (53 → 47) saw its Buyer Activity sub-index slip below 50 in May 2024, joining the Southeast (46 → 40) and Southwest (47 → 41) as the least active regions. Even the recently resurgent West region fell month-over-month (61 → 54).

Although the Home Price Direction sub-indexes dropped in 4 out of 7 regions, prices were still generally trending higher (index levels >50). The biggest jumps were seen in the Midwest (70 → 77) and Mid-Atlantic (79 → 84) regions. The biggest falls were in the Northwest (66 → 60) and Southwest (58 → 53) regions.

“April was a tough month for buyers, with mortgage rates up a half-percent on stubborn inflation data. Despite this, our MBS Highway National Index only dropped by a single point in May, reflecting resilient demand and limited inventory in most markets,” said Barry Habib, MBS Highway’s Founder and CEO.

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