News US Economy News Fewer Homes Sell in February as Mortgage Rates Rise What Friday’s Economic Reports Tell Us By Diccon Hyatt Diccon Hyatt Diccon Hyatt has written hundreds of articles about how public policy and the economy intersect with personal finance, tracking all the latest dynamics affecting your money. Before joining The Balance, he covered business and community news for 17 years, including Princeton, New Jersey's high-tech Route 1 Corridor. learn about our editorial policies Updated on March 24, 2022 Fact checked by Helen Reis Fact checked by Helen Reis Helen is the senior news editor for The Balance and a veteran journalist with more than 17 years of experience, mostly in business and finance news. She is passionate about making complicated topics easy for everyone to understand and compulsive about accuracy and transparency. learn about our editorial policies Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Rob Daly/Getty Images Higher mortgage rates depressed home sales in February and an index measuring the outlook for the U.S. economy improved slightly, reports showed Friday. Here’s a quick look at the most significant economic indicators of the day and what they tell us. Home Sales Fewer homes sold in February (7.2% fewer) as buyers were deterred by rising mortgage rates, higher and higher prices, and a lack of properties on the market, the National Association of Realtors said. The number of existing homes sold fell to an annualized rate of 6.02 million, the lowest since August of last year and well below the pandemic-era peak of 6.73 million. Prospective buyers have had an increasingly hard time finding homes, especially affordable ones. The number of homes for sale rose very slightly to 870,000 in February from a record low of of 850,000 in February. For perspective, there were over 1.3 million homes for sale as recently as July and 2-3 million for much of the last couple of decades. Leading Economic Index The outlook on the U.S. economy improved slightly in February, partly reversing a decline in January, but not reflecting the full impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index. The index measures 10 data points on unemployment, manufacturing orders, building, stock prices and other metrics to shed light on the trajectory of the economy. Sanctions against Russia and other fallout from the invasion threaten to slow economic growth and further fuel inflation. “The global economic impact of the war on supply chains and soaring energy, food, and metals prices—coupled with rising interest rates, existing labor shortages, and high inflation—all pose headwinds to US economic growth,” Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board, wrote in a report. Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. National Association of Realtors. "Existing-Home Sales Fade 7.2% in February." The Conference Board. "The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. Increased in February."