The National Weather Service reports that last month ranked as the second coldest March in the continental United States since 2000. The average temperature across the US was also 13 degrees Fahrenheit lower than in March 2012, and a late-winter blizzard broke snowfall records in many areas.
Bad weather certainly can explain why single-family housing starts fell and existing home sales dipped in March. However, that didn’t stop the median price of a single-family existing home from rising by 12.1% y/y, the best rate of increase since November 2005.
In April, there was a two-point drop to 42 in the Housing Market Index (HMI) compiled by the National Association of Home Builders. That’s still a very upbeat leading indicator for both housing starts and new home sales.
Today's Morning Briefing: Blaming the Weather. (1) What done it? (2) A soft batch or a soft patch? (3) The seasonal adjustment curse. (4) The coldest March since 2000. (5) Utility output jumped. (6) Hot home prices. (7) Outstanding oil output. (8) Stovall on going away in May. (9) Health Care is a good sector for the season. (10) It’s defensive, but still cheap. (11) A table of forward P/Es. (More for subscribers.)