When the home-sales curve kinked south last fall, soothsayers had some handy reasons: The fiscal cliff, the threat of a government shutdown, and the potential government default that no one took seriously made home buyers uncertain. The jump in mortgage rates in reaction to the Fed’s taper cacophony? Homebuyers would get used to them, soothsayers mused.
By December, it was water under the bridge, but home sales dropped through the winter. Polar vortices were convenient excuses, though in the West, the weather was gorgeous. Then the spring buying season came around when the mood was supposed to perk up, but sales were still dropping.