MBS Highway Housing Index, July 2024

The MBS Highway National Housing Index dropped 9 points in July 2024 to 44, as buyer activity levels fell across the nation. We’re well into summer, but 7% mortgage rates and still-rising home prices have put a winter chill on transaction volumes.
National Data
The MBS Highway National Housing Index dropped 9 points to 44 in July 2024. This was the third straight MoM decrease. In July 2023, the index was at 54. Although average 30-year mortgage rates eased slightly in June 2024, they remained over 7%. This, combined with higher home prices in most markets, have reduced affordability and diminished buyer demand.

The national Buyer Activity sub-index dropped 8 points to 37 in July 2024, after having dropped 6 points to 45 in June 2024. In July 2023, the Buyer Activity sub-index was at 45.

The national Price Direction sub-index fell 10 points to 50 — right at the breakeven point. This means that the percentage of respondents seeing price increases (29%) exactly matched those seeing price reductions. In July 2023, the national Price Direction sub-index was at 63.
Regional Data

Buyer Activity levels declined in six of the seven regions, with only the Northeast (56) managing to stay above the 50 breakeven point. The least active regions were the Southeast (28) and Southwest (26).

All seven regions saw their Price Direction sub-indexes move lower, but five out of the seven remained at or above 50. The strongest home price momentum was in the Northeast (77) and Midatlantic (68). The weakest was in the Southeast (39) and Southwest (34).

“Buyers are balking at 7% mortgage rates and record home prices (in many markets). The Fed holds the key that could unlock both buyers and sellers — rate cuts — but it remains focused on lagging and flawed measures of inflation and employment,” said Barry Habib, MBS Highway’s Founder and CEO.

MBS Highway’s monthly Housing Index provides an accurate and real-time read on buyer activity and home price direction both nationally and regionally in the U.S. housing market. This survey of 30,000 mortgage and real estate professionals fills a crucial industry need for insights that reflect buyers’ immediate experiences, helping mortgage loan originators to better serve homebuyers.

The MBS Highway Housing Survey is comprised of two separate component indices: buyer activity and home price direction. Each month, respondents rank buyer activity as “active,” “steady,” or “slower,” and home price direction as “price increases,” “steady,” or “price reductions.” A national and regional index is calculated for each component index by applying the formula “[active + (steady/2)]” for buyer activity, and “[price increases + (steady/2)]” for home price direction. The score for each component index is then used to calculate the MBS Highway Housing Index by applying the formula "[(national buyer activity/2) + (national home price direction/2)].

Any number over 50 indicates expansion while a number below 50 indicates contraction. The MBS Highway Housing Index can range between 0 and 100.

Dan Habib, MBS Highway’s Chief Revenue Officer, explained, “There are a few reliable housing reports available in the market, most of which are delayed by two months. Because MBS Highway has a large base of mortgage and real estate clients, we felt we were in a unique position to capture real-time housing data from our subscribers, who are on the front lines of the housing market.”