The Line: Some Good News from the Housing Market

Updated: Jul 11

Gregory Heym is Chief Economist at Brown Harris Stevens. His weekly series, The Line, covers new developments to the economy, including trends and forecasts. Read on for the latest report and subscribe here to receive The Line in your inbox.



Pending home sales, which include existing homes currently in contract, rose 0.7% in May. Now that might not sound very exciting, but given the run of bad housing news lately it’s certainly worth celebrating. In fact, it’s the first increase in pending home sales in seven months. Pending homes sales are still 13.6% lower than last May, but that’s not surprising given how crazy the market was last year.


A dip in mortgage rates in May was the most likely reason for the increase in contracts, even though rates are still up sharply from the beginning of the year. Both buyers and sellers need to be checking mortgage rates regularly, as any decline presents an opportunity. For buyers, a lower rate makes any home slightly more affordable. Sellers need to understand that lower rates will bring more buyers out, giving them more eyes on their listing.


Herschel 'Woody' Williams, a True American Hero



Hershel Woodrow Williams, the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient, died this week at the age of 98.


After initially being turned down for being too short, Williams was able to join the Marines in 1943. At the Battle of Iwo Jima, he used a flamethrower and explosives to clear seven concrete bunkers known as pillboxes, all while under heavy fire. All the other men in his company perished in the battle.


President Truman awarded Corporal Williams the Medal of Honor on October 5, 1945, but his service to our country didn’t end there. He worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs for 33 years, and in 2018 the VA medical center near his home was renamed "The Hershel "Woody" Williams VA Medical Center." You can read more about this great man, and The Woody Williams Foundation, at this site.


As we just celebrated our nation’s independence last weekend, we should remember those that risked everything to keep this great country free. Rest in peace, Corporal Williams.


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