Last week’s economic news included readings on housing market conditions, housing starts, building permits issued, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
National Association of Home Builders Reports Record High Builder Confidence
The NAHB reported record high builder confidence in housing market conditions. The Housing Market Index had an index reading of 83 in September as compared to August’s reading of 78. Analysts said that this builder confidence reading was notable due to rising costs for building materials.
Component readings of the NAHB Housing Market Index also rose in September. Builder confidence in current single-family housing market conditions rose four points to an index reading of 88; builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose by six points to 84. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in single-family housing developments rose by nine points to a record index reading of 73.
Builder confidence readings over 50 reflect growing builder confidence in housing market conditions. March and April fell below 50 but rebounded as demand for larger suburban homes took hold as working from home increased. Record low mortgage rates are allowing home buyers to buy larger homes with more amenities. Robert Dietz, the chief economist for the NAHB, said that “Builders in other areas of the country have reported receiving calls from customers in high-density markets asking about relocating.”
Housing Starts and Building Permits Drop in August
The Commerce Department reported 1.42 million housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted basis in August as compared to July’s reading of 1.49 million housing starts. 1.47 million building permits were issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis;
Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported mixed changes in mortgage rates; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.87 percent and rose by one basis point. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were two basis points lower on average at 2.35 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.96 percent and were 15 basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims fell to 860,000 from the prior week’s reading of 893,000 new claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims also fell; 12.63 million were filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 29.67 continuing jobless claims filed.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index also indicated economic growth with an index reading of 78.9 as compared to August’s reading of 74.1. Analysts expected am index reading of 75.9 for September.
This week’s scheduled economic readings include reports on new and existing home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
Last week’s economic news included readings on inflation, job openings, and weekly reports on jobless claims and mortgage rates.
Inflation Rate Slows in August
After posting 0.60 percent growth for each month in June and July, the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.40 percent in August. These growth rates offset declines in inflation during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Used vehicle prices increased after deep discounts offered when the pandemic started; analysts said that rising prices for used vehicles offset losses in previous months and produced low inflation for August.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, mirrored results for the Consumer Price Index with 0.40 percent growth in August as compared to 0.60 percent growth in consumer prices in July. Prices for items in high demand in the first months of the pandemic have stabilized as panic buying of paper goods and meat has subsided.
July Job Openings Increase; Labor Market Remains Uncertain
617,000 jobs were added in July as compared to 600,000 jobs added in June. Hiring fell in July to a pace of 5.80 million hires as compared to nearly seven million hires in June. Job openings rose by 617,000 job openings to 6.60 million openings in July. Analysts said that seven million jobs were added per month before the pandemic.
Mortgage Rates Fall to Record Low, Jobless Claims Hold Steady
Freddie Mac reported record low fixed mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.86 percent and were seven basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.37 percent and were five basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 11 basis points to an average of 3.11 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims were unchanged from last week’s reading of 884,000 new claims filed. Continuing jobless claims rose to 13.39 million from the prior week’s reading of 13.29 million ongoing claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, reports on housing starts, and building permits issued The University of Michigan will issue its Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.
Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private sector jobs. The national unemployment rate was also reported. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.
July Construction Spending Rises
Construction spending rose from June’s seasonally adjusted annual pace of $1.363 billion to $1,365 billion in July. The U.S. Census Department reports construction spending and readings are subject to adjustment. Growth in construction spending is due to a demand for homes in less congested areas.COVID-19 is creating more demand for larger homes that accommodate working from home.
Mortgage Rates Mixed as Jobless Claims Fall
Mortgage rate activity was mixed last week amid incremental changes. Freddie Mac reported that rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose two basis points to 2.93 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by four basis points to 2.42 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.93 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
New and continuing jobless claims fell last week. 881,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 1.01 million first-time claims filed the prior week.13.25 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to Ongoing jobless claims were lower last week with 13.250 million claims filed as compared to 14.490 million ongoing unemployment claims filed during the prior week. Falling jobless claims indicate strengthening economic conditions as businesses reopen and employers rehire former employees and add new employees.
Jobs Growth Reports Mixed, National Unemployment Rate Falls
ADP reported 428,000 private-sector jobs added in August as compared to July’s reading of 212,000 jobs added. The Commerce Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 1.37 public and private-sector jobs.added in August as compared to 1.73 million jobs added in July. Analysts said that looming layoffs in airlines and travel sectors could slow job growth. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.40 percent in August from July’s reading of 10.20 percent.
Based on these readings, the economy is rebounding from the impacts of COVID-19, but analysts were cautious as the three-day Labor Day weekend approached. COVID-19 cases rose after the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays. Increasing cases of COVID-19 could cause state and local governments to impose restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on inflation and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
Last week’s economic news included readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, along with data on new and pending home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also published.
Case-Shiller: Home Price GrowthHolds Steady in June
National home prices grew at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 4.30 percent in June, which was unchanged from May’s year-over-year growth rate for home prices. The 20-City Home Price Index rose by 3.50 percent year-over-year in June.
Phoenix, Arizona reported the leading year-over-year home price growth rate of 9.00 percent. Seattle, Washington held second place with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 6.50 percent. Home prices in Tampa, Florida grew at a year-over-year pace of 5.90 percent.
Home price growth rates rose in five of 19 cities reported in the 20-City Index; the Wayne County Michigan metro area did not report for June’s 20-City Home Price Index.
New Home Sales Rise as Pending Home Sales Dip in July
Sales of new homes rose for the third consecutive month in July according to the U.S. Census Bureau. July’s reading of 901,000 new homes sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis was the highest pace of sales since 2006. Sales of new homes were 36 percent higher year-over-year. Slim inventories of pre-owned homes for sale and low mortgage rates boosted new home sales, but analysts said that builders also face headwinds including higher materials costs and affordability.
Pending home sales dropped in July from June’s year-over-year reading of 15.80 percent to July’s reading of 5.80 percent. Ongoing concerns over COVID-19, high unemployment rates and, concerns over jobs have caused would-be-homebuyers to delay their home purchase plans.
Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported lower rates for fixed-rate mortgages last week with the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages falling by eight basis points to 2.91 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also fell by eight basis points to 2.46 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.91 percent and were unchanged from the prior week.
New jobless claims fell to 1.01 million claims filed from the prior week’s reading of 1.10 million initial claims filed. Continuing jobless claims were also lower with 14.54 million continuing claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 14.76 million continuing jobless claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending, private and public sector jobs growth, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.
According to the National Case-Shiller Home Price Index for June, U.S. home prices rose 4.30 percent year-over-year, which was unchanged from May’s year-over-year home price growth rate. Home prices are expected to continue growing through 2020 as businesses reopen and COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index for May showed Phoenix, Arizona held the top spot with 9.00 percent year-over-year growth; Seattle, Washington followed with 650 percent growth in home prices. Tampa, Florida maintained its third-place position with 5.90 percent year-over-year home price growth. Five of 19 cities reporting in the 20-City Index showed a higher rate of home price growth. Wayne County, Michigan, which includes the Detroit metro area, did not provide information for June’s 20-City Home Price Index.
Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, wrote: “As has been the case for the last several months, home prices were particularly strong in the Southeast and West and were comparatively weak in the Midwest and Northeast.”
Short Supply of Single-Family Homes Continues to Fuel Rising Home Prices
Continued shortages of homes for sale and rising demand for homes caused home price gains in June. Analysts said that while low mortgage rates encouraged buyers to enter the market, overall housing market conditions did not contribute to affordable home prices. Analysts expressed concern that potential buyers were calculating affordability based on principal and interest payments and were not considering other costs of homeownership including taxes, hazard insurance, and mortgage insurance premiums that could be added to their monthly loan payments.
High home prices, COVID-19and ongoing unemployment, and decreasing growth in rental rates are obstacles to continued growth in home prices. Quarterly data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows how average home prices have fallen in 2020. The national average price of a new home in the first quarter of 2020 was $383,000; in the second quarter of 2020, the average price of a new home was $368,000.
Average New Home Prices Fall in All U.S. Regions
Average regional U.S. home prices fell from the first quarter to the second quarter according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In the Northeast, the average price of a home fell to $622,000 from 645,200. The average price of a new home fell from $337,000 to $319,200 in the Midwest and fell from $325,300 to $315,500 in the South. The West had the highest average new home price in the second quarter of $459.900, but this was lower than the average new home price of $471,300 in the first quarter of 2020.
Last week’s economic news included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Indices, and sales of previously-owned homes. Readings on housing starts and building permits issued were released. Weekly reports on mortgage rates, new and continuing jobless claims were also published.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Rises in August
The National Association of Home Builders reported that builder confidence in housing market conditions rose six points to an index reading of 78.in August. The expected reading of 73 was based on July’s reading of 72. Homebuilder confidence was based on sharp demand for homes as city dwellers sought larger homes in less dense housing metro areas.
Ongoing shortages of pre-owned homes for sale boosted builder outlook as would-be buyers turned to new homes as supplies of pre-owned homes remained low.
The National Association of Realtors® reported higher numbers of previously owned homes sold in July at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.86 million sales. 5.50 million sales of previously owned homes were expected based on June’s seasonally adjusted annual pace of 4.70 million sales.
Rising home sales could indicate increasing numbers of available homes, rising confidence in the economy, and sellers putting their homes on the market for reasons including buying bigger homes or relocation for less congested living conditions.
Commerce Department Reports Rising Rates of Housing Starts and Building Permits Issued
The Commerce Department reported a jump in U.S. housing starts in July with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million starts as compared to an expected pace of 1.330 million housing starts and an annual pace of 1.258 million housing starts reported in June.
Mortgage Rates Rise; Jobless Claims Mixed
Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose three basis points to 2.99 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.54 percent and were eight basis points higher. Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 2.91 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.
Initial jobless claims reported by states rose to 1.11 million new claims filed last week and surpassed the expected a reading of 910,000 new claims filed based on the prior week’s reading of 971,000 initial jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims fell to 14.80 million ongoing claims from the prior week’s reading of 15.50 million continuing claims.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, reports on new and pending home sales, and inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.