According to a Reuters report, housing sales in the United States were down in September on a year over year basis. Sales were down to a level last seen in 2007. Low interest and mortgage rates were not enough to maintain housing sales at levels seen before the pandemic.
A poll of economists showed that they mostly expected housing sales to rise in September, by an average of 2.5%. The article also mentions that housing loan applications dropped for 4 consecutive weeks.
They go on to mention that housing sales in suburbs in particular have been increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans have been fleeing from city centers in search of homes with access to open spaces.
While housing sales have begun to decline in the US, that has not been the case so far in Puerto Rico. Housing sales have remained strong even during this pandemic. The month of August saw 75 new housing unit sales, with the average price of these units going above $300,000 for the first time since 2018. In addition to this, there were 990 used housing units sold, the highest single month total since December 2012.
Low interest rates have buoyed housing unit sales in Puerto Rico. Given high levels of unemployment and lack of economic growth on the island, one must wonder if these housing sales are being driven by foreign investment rather than by locals.
Regardless, September’s housing unit sales will be the ones to show whether or not this national tendency ends up being reflected at a local level.