Months of falling sales of existing homes ... surging purchase mortgage applications.
(1) People who borrow money to buy a house are out there trying to buy
(2) Market participants that do not need a mortgage (a) cash-rich households, (b) investors, (c) buyers with institutional level borrowing access, (d) overseas funding sources, and (e) money launderers have "left the market."
(3) Both occurrences are happening at the same time
On #2, NAR recently reported that overall cash purchases inched down from 21% of total purchases to 20% last month. (1.04M vs 1.14M YoY down 8.8% -- pushed down overall 2%)
Addressing another point: business news channels such as Fox Business and CNBC usually tie student loan debt to a slowing housing market. Student loans aren't a new thing. Did they pop out of nowhere? Hardly. So long term interest rates are down, the FED hints at no longer raising rates this year (let's see), and unemployment is at historic lows - all contribute to the increase in purchase mortgage applications.
Interesting observations that have not necessarily moved the market(s): In the first quarter, banks eased lending standards for non-qualified jumbo's. New homes are up 3% YoY in May - no data for April yet.
My (IMHO) opinion is #2, number one goes on regardless of the economic ups and downs, but the ridiculously high number of international transactions and money laundering (foreign governments, drug dealers, human traffickers, etc) in major markets moved prices up making homes unaffordable for more and more Americans. (Think FinCEN requirements targeting Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle to rattle off a few)
Part II - why NAR, RPAC, and the other market participants want open borders.