Archive for Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 27th, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 27th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 27th, 2020Last week’s economic reporting was slim due to the observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously owned homes and the Veterans Administration announced changes to its home loan programs. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and initial unemployment claims were also released.

Sales Pace of  Pre-owned Homes Rose 3.60 Percent in December

The sales pace of previously-owned homes jumped by 3.60 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. December’s sales pace rose to 5.54 million sales. 5.35 million homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in November. Sales of new and pre-owned homes rose 10.60 percent year-over-year.

The number of available homes for sale reached its lowest reading since the National Association of Realtors® started tracking sales in 1999. There was a three-month supply of homes for sale in December as compared to a 3.70 month supply of homes available in  November. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of homes to balance market conditions evenly between buyers and sellers.

December’s data indicates that housing markets are skewed in favor of sellers, which increases challenges for buyers relying on mortgage loans or moderate-income buyers seeking affordable homes.

High demand for homes encourages bidding wars and cash offers that grab sellers’ attention at the expense of traditional purchase offers contingent on mortgage financing. Moderate-income buyers may require additional approvals from mortgage insurance companies or programs geared toward first-time buyers.

Veterans Home Loans: No More Loan Limits in 2020

As of January 1, 2020, VA home loans are no longer subject to loan limits based on property location. Past regulations included home loan limits based on maximum loan amounts determined by the county where a veteran’s prospective home was located.

Removing loan limits streamlines VA loan approval and can avoid problems caused if a VA home loan limit is lower than a home’s appraised value. More veterans are expected to gain the advantage of no down payment required for VA loans. Veterans with less than full VA loan entitlement remain subject to loan limits.

Mortgage Rates, Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported the lowest average mortgage rates in three months last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.60 percent and were five basis points lower. The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.04 percent and was five basis points lower.

5/1 adjustable rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.28 percent, which was 11 basis points lower than in the prior week.

First-time jobless claims rose by 4000 claims to 211,000 new claims filed. Analysts said that the rise in first-time claims did not indicate more layoffs.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, new home sales and the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will issue its customary post-meeting statement. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 21st, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 21st, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 21st, 2020Last week’s economic reports included the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index along with readings on consumer sentiment and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB: Builder Confidence d in Housing Markets Drops 1 Point in January

Homebuilder confidence in overall housing market conditions dropped one point in January, but analysts said that a new trade deal would likely benefit builder interests. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index dropped to an index reading of 75 from December’s reading of 76; December’s reading was the highest since 1999.

The reading for builder confidence in January 2019 was 58; while any reading over 50 is considered positive, builder confidence increased significantly year-over-year.

Sub-index readings used to calculate the overall housing market index reading were mixed;  builder confidence in current housing market conditions fell -3 points to an index reading of 81.

Homebuilder confidence in market conditions over the next six months was unchanged at a reading of 79. Homebuilder confidence in buyer traffic levels in new housing developments rose one point to 58; index readings over 50 for buyer traffic are unusual.

NAHB reported mixed readings for homebuilder sentiment regionally. Builder confidence in market conditions in the Western region rose four points; builder confidence in the Northeastern region rose three points and builder confidence readings for the South were unchanged. Builder confidence in housing market conditions in the Midwest fell seven points.

Factors contributing to high builder confidence in housing markets include high demand for homes and a potential easing of materials prices due to recent trade agreements. Builders continue to battle high materials and labor costs that reduce their profit margins. Analysts note that narrower profit margins contribute to builders’ongoing focus on building high-end homes.

Mortgage Rates Rise; New Jobless Claims Fall

Average mortgage rates rose incrementally last week; Freddie Mac reported a one basis point gain for 30-year-fixed-rate mortgages to 3.65 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.09 percent and were two basis points higher. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.39 percent and were nine basis points higher.

New jobless claims were lower than expected with 204,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected 220,000 new claims and 214,000 new claims were filed the prior week. Initial jobless claims fell for the fifth consecutive week, which indicates a strong labor market.

The University of Michigan reported a lower index reading for its Consumer Sentiment Index in January. The monthly reading fell to 99.1 from December’s reading of 99.3; the projected reading for January was 99.6. The Consumer Sentiment Index reflects consumers’ attitudes toward their personal finances along with their views of overall business and buying conditions.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include sales of previously-owned homes and the Chicago Fed’sNational Index report; weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 13th, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 13th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 13th, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings on public and private sector jobs, the national unemployment rate and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.

ADP: Private-Sector Job Growth Eases in December

Private-sector jobs increased by 202,000 jobs in December and exceeded expectations. November’s original reading of 60,000 new private-sector jobs was revised to 124,000 jobs.

Three and six-month average private-sector job growth rates were 159,000 and 151,000 jobs, but these growth rates fell short of 2018’s average monthly job growth rate of 218,000 jobs added.

Analysts said that private-sector job growth has settled into a more modest but steady pattern.

Non-Farm Payrolls: Public and Private-Sector Job Growth Slower in December

The Commerce Department reported 145,000 public and private-sector jobs added in December with 145,000 new jobs reported. Analysts expected 165,000 new jobs added, which was markedly less than 256,000 new jobs added in November.

Reduction in new jobs during December was likely due to slowing in holiday hiring and winter weather. Average hourly earnings for December rose by 0.10 percent and were lower than expectations of  0.30 percent growth. Slower wage growth contributed to predictions of slowing economic growth.

The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.50 percent in December.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell eight basis points to 3.64 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged nine basis points lower at 3.07 percent.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 13 basis points lower at 3.30 percent. Discount points for fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.70 percent and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac predicted that rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will average 3.80 percent in 2020 as compared to 4.00 percent in 2019.

Weekly jobless claims fell to 214,000 new claims; analysts expected 219,000 new claims filed. 223,000 first-time claims were filed the prior week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions. Commerce Department readings on housing starts and inflation will also be released. The University of Michigan will post data on consumer sentiment; weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be posted as scheduled.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 6th, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 6th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 6th, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Schiller Home Price Indices and National Association of  Realtors® data on pending home sales. The Conference Board of the U.S. Senate also released its Consumer Confidence Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller Reports 0.10 Percent Uptick in National  Home Price Index

The National Home Price Index issued by Case-Shiller for October reported a year-over-year increase of 3.20 percent in home prices. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reflected the influence of low inventories of affordable homes as pricey metro areas reported slower growth if not declines in home-price growth.

 The top three cities reporting highest year-over-year home prices were Phoenix, Arizona with5.80 percent growth; Tampa, Florida with 4.90 percent growth and Charlotte, North Carolina, which had 4.80 percent home price growth.

Analysts said that the shift in higher home-price growth rates to smaller eastern and southern metro areas was evidence of continued shortages of affordable homes in coastal and major metro areas. Home prices in San Francisco, California declined for the third consecutive month in October after posting double-digit home price growth in recent years.

Pending home sales,  which are sales for which purchase offers have been made but not completed, rose 1.20 percent in November as compared to October. Regionally, pending home sales reports were mixed. The Western region led with a 5.50 percent growth rate in pending home sales. Pending home sales were 1.00 percent higher in the Midwest and fell by -0.10 percent in the Northeast. Pending home sales fell by 0.20 percent in the  South. 

Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that “The supply of available homes is not yet meeting healthy demand.” Real estate pros consider pending home sales a gauge of future closings.  

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Dip

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.72 percent and were two basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by three basis points and averaged 3.16 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages was one basis point higher at 3.46 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell by 2000 claims to 222,000 claims filed last week; analysts expected a reading of 223,000 initial jobless claims filed. The U.S. Conference Board reported a lower consumer confidence reading of 126.50 in December, but this was caused by an upwardly-revised November index reading of 126.80.

Consumer confidence in current economic conditions rose 4.40 points to 170.00 points, but this momentum was offset by the reading for consumer confidence in economic conditions over the next six months from 100.30 points to 97.40 points. Analysts said that flagging consumer confidence indicated that the economy is not likely to grow significantly in the next six months.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes labor sector readings on private and public job growth and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 30th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 30th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 30th, 2019Last week’s economic reports were limited due to the Christmas holiday. New home sales data was released along with a weekly reading on mortgage rates.

Census Bureau: New Home Sales Hit Highest Level Since 1999

Mortgage rates below 4.00 percent propelled the highest number of new homes sold since 1999. 719,000 new homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in November.

Analysts expected November sales of new homes to reach 740,000 sales based on October’s original reading of 733,000 sales, but this reading was later revised to 710,000 sales.

New home sales reported are based on a narrow range of data and subject to major revisions. Slim inventories of previously-owned homes for sale also boosted new home sales.

The national median sale price for new homes was $330,800 in November and there was a 5.40 month supply of new homes available, which fell below the peak of a seven-month supply of available new homes reported in December 2018.

The Northeast region reported a 52.40 percent increase in new home sales; Sales of new homes in the South decreased by 4.10 percent and were unchanged in the Midwest. New home sales in the West rose by 7.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Little Changed

Freddie Mac reported incremental changes in average mortgage rates; 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates averaged 3.74 percent and were one basis point higher than for the prior week. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.19 percent and were unchanged.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was eight basis points higher at 3.45 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac cautioned that the ongoing shortage of affordable homes is causing home prices to rise throughout the U.S; in recent years significant home price gains primarily occurred in coastal regions. Analysts said that as fewer affordable homes become available, housing markets and the general economy could be negatively affected.

Weekly reporting on first-time jobless claims was not released last week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, pending home sales, construction spending and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 23rd, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 23rd, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 23rd, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets; the National Association of Realtors® released data on sales of previously-owned homes and the Commerce Department released readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises in December

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in housing market conditions rose in December to an index reading of 76 as compared to November’s reading of 71. Any reading over 50 indicates that most home builders surveyed were confident about housing market conditions.

Builder confidence in current market conditions rose seven points to an index reading of 84; builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose one point to 79 and the index reading for buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose four points to 58. Analysts noted that the index reading for buyer traffic rarely reaches a reading of 50.

Regional readings were mixed with builder confidence in the Northeast falling two points; the Midwestern region showed builder confidence five points higher than in November and builder confidence readings in the South and West rose one point and three points respectively.

Analysts said that low mortgage rates, a slim supply of pre-owned homes for sale and low unemployment contributed to rising builder confidence. Negative factors impacting builder confidence included high land and labor costs, and a disparity between builders focusing on high-end construction while entry-level homes were most in demand.

The National Association of Realtors ®reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in November; 5.35 million previously-owned homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to October’s reading of 5.44 million sales of previously-owned homes.

Fewer sales were caused by slim inventories of affordable homes for sale. This data supported home builders’ assertion that fewer available pre-owned homes boosted builder confidence in current housing markets.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Rise in November

The Commerce Department reported 1365 million single-family housing starts in November as compared to 1.323 million starts in October. Building permits issued also rose in November with 1.482 million permits issued as compared to October’s reading of 1.461 million building permits issued. Housing Starts and building permits supply estimates for future inventories of available homes.

Mortgage Rates Unchanged, New Jobless ClaimsFall

Fixed mortgage rates were unchanged last week according to Freddie Mac. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.73 percent and rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.19 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 3.37 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 234,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 235,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 252,000 first-time claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news is limited due to the Christmas holiday. Data on new home sales will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 16th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 16th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 16th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation and retail sales; the Federal Reserve released its post-meeting statement from its Federal Open Market Committee. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Inflation, Retail Sales Rate Dip in November

The Commerce Department’s Consumer Price Index dipped in November to a growth rate of 0.20 percent as compared to October’s growth rate of 0.40 percent. Analysts expected inflation to slow to 0.20 percent growth.

Year-over-year inflation rose to 2.10 percent, which was its highest reading in a year. Analysts said rising rents, energy and healthcare costs caused the higher consumer inflation reading. November’s Core Consumer Price Index was unchanged at 0.20 percent growth. The Core CPI reading excludes volatile food and energy sectors.

Retails sales growth slowed to 0.20 percent in November as compared to October’s growth rate of 0.40 percent and expected growth of 0.50 percent. Retail sales exclusive of autos were also lower in November with a reading of 0.10 percent growth.

Analysts expected a reading of 0.40 percent growth; October’s reading for Retail Sales Excluding Autos showed 0.30 percent growth. Lower retail sales at the start of the winter holiday shopping season could signify cooling consumer confidence in the economy.

Fed Holds Steady on Key Interest Rate Range

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced no change to the target federal funds rate range at its meeting on Wednesday. The target range for the federal funds rate remained at 1.50 to 1.75 percent.

The Committee’s post-meeting statement suggested that FOMC members did not plan to change the federal funds rate in 2020 if economic conditions remain stable, but said that monetary policy decisions were flexible and could change as global and domestic economic conditions require.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average rates for fixed-rate mortgages last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was five basis points higher at 3.73 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged five basis points higher at 3.19  percent.

The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 3.36 percent. Discount points rose across the board last week and averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims jumped to 252,000 last week, which surpassed expectations of 220,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 203,000 first-time claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include the National Association of Home Builders’Housing Market Index and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® will release data on sales of pre-owned homes and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 9th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 9th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 9th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending and multiple labor sector reports including private and public sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on average mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Falls 0.80 Percent in October

Commerce Department reports on construction spending said that spending fell by 0.80 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $1.29 million. Analysts expected construction spending to increase by 0.40 percent based on September’s original reading of 0.50 percent growth, which was later revised to -0.30 percent.

Less construction of multifamily homes and apartments caused a decrease in October construction spending. Private construction spending fell by -1.00 percent in October; residential construction fell 0.90 percent as multi-family construction spending fell 1.60 percent after a 2.10 percent dip in September. Construction spending on single-family homes increased by 1.60 percent.

Low mortgage rates, a strong job market, and rising wages contributed to a strong demand for homes. Short inventories of available homes continued to pressure home builders to build more homes; construction of homes jumped 3.80 percent in October.

Mortgage Rates, Mixed, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported no change in the average rate of 3.68 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.14 percent and were one basis point lower than for the prior week.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages fell four basis points on average to 3.39 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell from the prior week’s reading of 213,000 claims to 203,000 claims filed last week. ADP reported 67,000 private-sector jobs added in November.

The federal government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report offset the dismal reading for private-sector job growth. 266,000 public and private sector jobs were added in November and surpassed expectations of 180,000 public and private sector jobs added.

Approximately 55,000 were accounted for as auto workers returned after a strike. 156,0000 public and private sector jobs were added in October. The national unemployment rate dropped to 3.50 percent in November and matched the reading for unemployment posted at the end of 1969.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation, retail sales and the post-meeting statement from the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to give a press conference after the FOMC statement. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 2nd, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 2nd, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 2nd, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, readings on new and pending home sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. The holiday break on Thursday and Friday curtailed some economic reports.

Case-Shiller Reports Uptick in September Home Prices

Home prices rose 0.10 percent to a year-over-year growth rate of 3.20 percent in September. Rates of home price growth showed a new geographic trend with smaller cities showing higher home price growth than the coastal cities that dominated rapid home price growth in recent years. Homebuyers seeking affordable options turned inland and southward where home prices are less expensive.

Home prices in Phoenix, Arizona rose 6.00 percent year-over-year in September and claimed the top spot for home price growth in Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index. Charlotte, North Carolina held second place in home price growth with a reading of 4.60 percent year-over-year.

Tampa, Florida rounded out the top three cities with home price growth of 4.50 percent year-over-year. September’s readings indicate slowing home price growth as compared to double-digit growth rates that dominated Case-Shiller Home Price Indices in the past.

Analysts said that while low mortgage rates are helpful to home buyers, strict mortgage requirements and home price growth rates continued to outstrip inflation and wage growth.

New and Pending Home Sales Dip in October

The Commerce Department reported 733,000 sales of new homes in October; this was lower than 738,000 new homes sold in September but exceeded analysts’ forecasts for 705,000 sales. Fewer homes are sold in the fall as peak home-buying season winds down and winter holidays approach; September’s reading for new homes sold was upwardly revised from the original reading of 701,000 new homes sold.

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer pending home sales in October with a negative reading of -1.70 percent as compared to September’s reading of +1.50 percent. Factors contributing to fewer purchase contracts signed included shortages of available homes and higher mortgage rates in October.

Pending sales are home sales for which purchase offers have been made and the sale is awaiting completion. Pending home sales are a gauge of future mortgage loan volume and completed home sales.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported mixed movement on average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.68 percent and were two basis points higher. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged at 3.15 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose four basis points to 3.43 percent.

New jobless claims fell sharply last week from 228,0000 claims filed the prior week to 213,000 first-time claims filed last week. The dip in new jobless claims brought last week’s reading near to a post-recession low.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on construction spending, public and private-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. The monthly reading on consumer sentiment will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 25th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 25th, 2019

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 25th, 2019Last week’s scheduled economic news releases included readings on builder sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders and. Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued.

The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously owned homes and the University of Michigan issued its monthly report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Sentiment Dips in November

Home builders were less optimistic about housing market conditions in November; the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index dipped by one point to an index reading of 70 for November. October’s reading of 71 was the highest in 20 months. Any reading over 50 indicates that most builders surveyed were positive about market conditions.

Sub-readings used to calculate the NAHB Housing Market Index reading were mixed. Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose one point to 77, but builder sentiment dipped two points to 76 for current market conditions. Builder sentiment about buyer traffic in new housing developments dipped one point to 53; buyer traffic readings rarely exceed a reading of 50.

Relatively low mortgage rates helped offset builder concerns over tariffs on building materials, but pending winter weather conditions likely impacted lower builder enthusiasm over housing market conditions.

Commerce Department Reports Increased Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued

Housing starts and building permits rose in October; Housing starts rose to 1.314 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to September’sreading of 1.266 million starts.

Building permits issued increased from September’s reading of 1.391 million permits issued to October’s reading of 1.461 million permits issued. Building permits issued for new homes in October reached their highest level since the recession. Ongoing shortages of available homes continued to boost demand for homes; any increase in new construction helps balance supply and demand for homes.

Sales of previously-owned homes fell short of expectations with a reading of 5.46 million sales at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate in October; analysts expected a pace of 5.47 million sales based on September’s reading of 5.36 million sales. Year-over-year sales of previously-owned homes rose 4.60 percent.

Supplies of available homes continued to fall according to the National Association of Realtors® as inventories slipped to a 3.9 months supply in October. Real estate pros consider a six-months supply of homes as a healthy balance between available homes and home buyers.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell nine basis points to 3.66 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.15 percent and were five basis points lower.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages also fell five basis points to 3.39 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

New jobless claims were expected to drop to 218,000 claims filed but held steady at the prior week’s reading of 227,000 first-time claims filed.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose to an index reading of 96.80 for November; analysts expected the reading to hold steady at October’s reading of 95.70 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on home prices from Case-Shiller; reports on new and pending home sales and a speech by Fed chair Jerome Powell. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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