Home Depot’s sales miss suggests cooling U.S. housing market

The rationale is simple: If Americans feel like their properties are rising in value, they’ll spend more fixing them up.

Home Depot Inc.’s lackluster results last quarter are adding to concerns the U.S. housing market is slackening. The company blamed cool weather at the start of spring, its biggest selling season.

Revenue and comparable-store sales at the world’s largest home-improvement retailer missed analysts’ estimates, although profit beat projections for the 16th-straight quarter.

Home Depot’s fortunes are so tightly intertwined with the housing market that they are often viewed as a proxy for the sector. The rationale is simple: If Americans feel like their properties are rising in value, they’ll spend more fixing them up.

But prices have been sagging in some parts of the U.S. and mortgage rates have risen. Labor shortages have also slowed the building of new homes. While that can maintain demand for existing ones, it often limits the number of first-time homebuyers.

 

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