Mortgage rates jumped over a full percentage point from May through June of this year, robbing home buyers of much-needed purchasing power. While they have now settled back a bit, they are far from the record lows of the past two years.
"The recent increase in mortgage rates hasn't slowed demand, as long as home affordability remains high," noted Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans. "We are, however, seeing an increased urgency from potential new home buyers as they move to secure today's historically low rates."
New home sales jumped more than 8 percent month-to-month in June, but May's sales numbers were revised sharply lower, and prices, while up from a year ago, are down 11.5 percent from April. That has some housing skeptics less optimistic about the builders' prospects.
(Read more: Map: Tracking the US real estate recovery)
"Remember, last month on the 'strong' but FAKE new home sales print of 476k, home builders rallied, and every bull took a huge victory lap. Today we learned that was all garbage," noted California-based analyst Mark Hanson. "Bottom line: May was a huge miss. Prices have tumbled as rates surged. And June is suspect because of the huge lower May revision."