MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
March U.S. economic index surges to 53.3, complicating inflation efforts
The headline S&P Global Flash US PMI Composite Output Index registered 53.3 in March, up notably from 50.1 in February. The latest index reading was the highest for almost a year and signaled a solid expansion in private sector activity. On the price front, input costs faced by businesses continued to rise at an historically elevated pace in March despite the rate of inflation softening to the second-slowest since October 2020.
Declines in listings holding back sales of existing homes
New listings of U.S. homes for sale fell 22% from a year earlier during the four weeks ending March 19, one of the biggest declines since the housing market nearly ground to a halt in the beginning of the pandemic (new listings fell slightly more in December 2022). Many would-be sellers are reluctant because they want to hang onto a low mortgage rate–nearly all homeowners have a rate under 6%–and because they’re also buyers struggling with low inventory.
Zillow updates home price forecast slightly up for March
Recent home price resilience has resulted in Zillow’s latest home value forecast being revised up slightly compared to last month. The national Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), which rose 4.4% in the 12 months ending in February, is expected to rise 0.6% over the next 12 months.