This week has felt like a month. Senior reporter Phil Rosen here. 

It’s Friday and the coffee’s just brewed — let’s get straight to the news. 

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AP Photo/John Raoux, File

Sales of existing homes declined 2.4% in March compared to the prior month, new data from the National Association of Realtors showed Thursday. 

That followed a 14.5% jump in February that had then ended a 12-month streak of declines.

“Home sales are trying to recover and are highly sensitive to changes in mortgage rates,” NAR economist Lawrence Yun said. 

“Yet, at the same time, multiple offers on starter homes are quite common, implying more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. It’s a unique housing market.”

He added that home prices are still climbing in regions where jobs are being added and housing is relatively affordable. 

At the same time, the more expensive parts of the US are adjusting to lower prices. 

Yun anticipates that the Fed’s monetary policy will shift from tightening to neutral and then possibly to loosening (i.e. cutting rates) in the next 12 months, which will again sway the housing sector.

With that outlook in mind, the economist said “home sales will steadily rebound despite several months of fluctuations.”

Meanwhile, a new report from John Burns Research & Consulting said that demand among homebuyers could still come roaring back — but it would take rates on America’s most popular mortgage to hit the magic number of 5.5%.

In a recent survey, 62% of consumers told the firm that a “historically normal” rate clocks in at that level, and nearly two-thirds said they wouldn’t be willing to buy a home with rates above that mark.

Currently, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is hovering above 6%, and stands as one reason why more than half of consumers believe it’s a bad time to buy a home right now.

“Affordability remains the key constraint on home sales,” Pantheon Macroeconomics’ economist Ian Shepherdson said Thursday. 

“We estimate,” he added, “that seasonally adjusted median existing home prices have fallen by a total 3.3% since the summer, but they need to drop much further before the market clears.”

Where do you see US home demand going in the next six months? Tweet me (@philrosenn) or email me ([email protected]) to let me know.

In other news:

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

2. US stock futures edge higher early Friday, as corporate earnings continue to roll in and investors brace for key manufacturing data, due later today. Here are the latest market moves.

3. On the docket: Procter & Gamble, Regions Financial, and more, all reporting.

4. The economist who first discovered the inverted yield curve as a recession indicator said a recession will now strike at any moment. Cam Harvey said, given the lead time on a downturn, he expects his classic market signal to be proven correct yet again.

5. Wall Street’s top four banks wrote off $3.4 billion in bad loans from borrowers in the first three months of 2023. With high inflation eroding savings, firms are putting aside increased amounts in reserves to cover the risk of more customers failing to repay their debt

6. Tesla’s shrinking margins are keeping investors up at night. Shares of Elon Musk’s EV maker slumped after its first-quarter earnings report. Here’s what four top analysts had to say in reaction to the numbers.

7. Investors anticipate a recession ahead, lingering inflation, and more rate hikes from the Fed, according to a new JPMorgan survey. Nearly 90% of respondents see a downturn materializing by the first quarter of next year, and investors want to reduce risk in China more than anywhere else. Get the full details.

8. A 23-year-old realtor explained the key tip that’s allowed him to negotiate home prices down by up to $129,000. Even in a tight market, this home expert still sees potential to save money on interest rates. See every part of his strategy here.

9. This real-estate investor estimated that his properties have appreciated over 60% in value. Part-time investor Atif Afzal has achieved financial freedom thanks to his portfolio of townhouses and condos. He broke down how he lands deals and the qualities he looks for before buying.

Markets Insider

10. Short bets against TD Bank surged to $6.1 billion this week. That’s up 45% from two weeks ago, and it’s a sign of waning confidence in the Canada-based bank’s takeover of First Horizon Bank.

Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. Feedback or tips? Tweet @philrosenn or email [email protected].

Edited by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London.