Policy rss

Builders Starting to Report Shortages of Framing Lumber

For several years now, the recovery in single-family home building has been hampered by shortages of labor and lots.  Availability of building materials, meanwhile, has not been much of an issue.  But that may be starting to change. In answer to questions on the May 2017 survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, 21% of single-family builders reported a shortage… Read More ›

Fed Raises Rates, Announces Balance Sheet Reduction Plan

The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee announced two moves today with implications for housing. Neither represented a surprise for markets. First, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced the second rate increase for the short-term federal funds rate for 2017, raising the target rate to a 1% to 1.25% range. While the Fed continues to raise short-term rates, the current stance of… Read More ›

Impact of the Duty on Canadian Lumber Announced April 25

On April 25, the Department of Commerce levied a 19.88% duty rate against Canadian softwood lumber exports to the United States. Due to “special circumstances,” the duties will be retroactive 90 days from the date that the rates are officially published in the Federal Register, likely back to the beginning of February. Five Canadian lumber producing companies will face specific… Read More ›

The Average Builder Uses 10 Different Green Products and Practices

On average, single-family builders use 10.2 different green products or practices, and 22 percent always or almost always have their homes certified to a green standard, according to a recent NAHB survey. The survey consisted of special questions on the January survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. A total of 337 single-family builders responded to these questions, one… Read More ›

NAHB Survey: AD&C Financing Standards Continue to Ease

Builders and developers continue to report easing credit conditions for acquisition, development, and construction (AD&C) loans according to NAHB’s survey on AD&C Financing. However, the pace of easing slowed somewhat in the third quarter of 2016 from the rate in the second quarter. In the third quarter of 2016, the overall net tightening index based on the AD&C survey was… Read More ›

FHA Mortgage Share Increased in 2015

Recent data released under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) on mortgage loans indicates that the FHA-insured share of all 1-4 family mortgage originations in owner-occupied homes increased in 2015. At the same time, refinancings relative to home purchase and home improvement mortgages also rose, especially for FHA-insured mortgages. The HMDA was enacted by Congress in 1975 and was implemented… Read More ›

Increase in Energy Prices Drives Producer Price Index Higher

Inflation in prices received by producers (prior to sales to consumers) rose 0.4 percent in May according to the latest Producer Price Index release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The increase—double that of the 0.2 rise in April—was 60-percent driven by the prices of goods, which climbed 0.7 percent.  The final demand index for services increased by a more modest… Read More ›

Independent Mortgage Companies Account for Most Home Purchase Mortgage Lending

In recent years, housing analysts have reported on the expansion in mortgage lending activity by nonbank financial institutions. Given recent activity, regulatory officials have expressed their interest in the lending activities at nonbank financial institutions. Nonbank consumer lenders can include pools such as hedge funds and they also include specialty finance companies such as auto finance companies. Another nonbank lending… Read More ›