Tag Archive for ‘economics’

2016 New Home Sales Up 12% Despite Weak December

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 10% on a monthly basis in December to a weak 536,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to estimates from the Census Bureau and HUD. This was a surprisingly low reading for the series. My expectation is that it will be revised higher in the next report. While higher interest rates may have caused a reduction in… Read More ›

2016 Existing Sales Best Since 2006

Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased 2.8% in December, but ended 2016 as the best year for existing sales since 2006. December sales were up a slight 0.7% from the same month a year ago. Total 2016 existing home sales reached 5.45 million, exceeding the 5.25 million in 2015. Total existing home sales… Read More ›

Residential Construction Employment Solid in December

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector remained elevated in November, as residential construction employment continues to grow. According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) came in at 184,000 in November. The cycle high was 225,000 set in July. The open position rate (job… Read More ›

Single-Family Housing Starts Up 9% in 2016

Housing starts rebounded in December, as monthly volatility for multifamily starts continued. Total starts were up 11.3%, rising to a 1.226 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. However, single-family starts posted a small monthly decline in December, albeit recording the fourth strongest monthly pace since the end of the recession. According to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development,… Read More ›

Builder Confidence Holds Firm in January

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained on firm ground in January, down two points to a level of 67 from a downwardly revised December reading of 69 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The solid reading is consistent with building expectations heading into the new year. NAHB expects 10 percent… Read More ›

Consumer Credit Grows but Some Risks Lurk

According to the Federal Reserve Board, consumer credit grew by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.9 percent over the month of November to $3.75 trillion. Revolving credit, which is largely composed of credit cards, grew by 13.5 percent while non-revolving credit, typically student loans and auto loans, rose by 5.9 percent. Although revolving credit grew faster than non-revolving credit… Read More ›

Builders Satisfy Demand for Open Floor Plans

According to a recent NAHB article, open floor plans are popular among home buyers, and the design of new single-family homes tends to be, if anything, even more open. For example, in a 2015 NAHB survey, 70 percent of recent and prospective homebuyers said they preferred a home with either a completely or partially open kitchen-family room arrangement with 32 percent preferring… Read More ›

Mortgage Rates Climb

The Mortgage Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) conducted monthly by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that contract mortgage rates rose in November 2016. Over the month, rates on all loans increased from 3.60 percent to 3.64 percent. Contract rates on both purchases of newly built homes and purchases of existing homes climbed during the month. Rates on purchases of… Read More ›

Pending Sales Retreat

The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 2.5% in November 2016 to its lowest level since January 2016, and is 0.4% below November 2015. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased to 107.3 in November 2016 from 110.0 the previous month. The PHSI increased 0.6% in… Read More ›