Last week’s economic reports included NAHB Housing Market Indexes along with readings on housing starts, building permits and existing home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Builder sentiment rebounded in October after lagging during summer months. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index reading for October was four points higher than the expected reading of 64 and September’s reading, which was also 64. Any NAHB Housing Market Index reading over 50 is considered positive.
Last week’s economic reports included Case-Shiller’s Home Price Indices, readings on new and pending home sales and Freddie Mac ‘s weekly mortgage rates report. Weekly jobless claims and reports on inflation and core inflation were also released.
Case-Shiller reported higher sales of new homes for July; the national reading for new home sales increased by 0.10 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.90 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index rose by 0.20 percent to 5.80 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.
Home builders had less confidence in housing market conditions in September. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, builders worried that ongoing shortages of construction labor and materials would worsen. NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said that concerns over labor and building materials were “intensified,” but said that builder confidence was expected to return to high readings once rebuilding is underway.
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June fell by two points to 67 after a revision of May’s reading. Components of the Housing Market Index were lower for June with builder confidence in current market conditions two points lower at 73; June’s reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months also fell two points to 76. Builder confidence in buyer traffic fell two points to 49. According to the Index, any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident than those who are not.
According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for April, Builder Confidence dropped three points to an index reading of 68 in April. While any reading over 50 indicates positive builder confidence, home builders said that they continue to face obstacles including higher costs for materials and elevated costs associated with regulatory issues. Builders have repeatedly cited concerns including a lack of buildable lots and labor shortages in past months.
September’s 20-City Housing Market Index from Case-Shiller showed signs that rapidly rising home prices in some metro areas may be losing momentum. San Francisco, California, posted a month-to-month reading of -0.40 percent and a year-over-year reading of 5.70 percent. Home prices stayed flat in Seattle Washington from August to September, but posted the highest home price gain of 11.00 percent year-over-year. Slowing home price growth in high-demand areas suggest that affordability concerns are impacting rapid gains in home prices seen in recent years.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, overall builder confidence in housing markets dropped two points in October to an index reading of 63. September’s reading of 65 was the highest posted since the housing bubble peak.
The minutes of the March meeting of the Fedâs Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) were released Tuesday and included a staff review of current economic conditions. The minutes noted that while labor markets continued to grow, inflation to the Fedâs target rate of 2.00 percent was impeded by dropping fuel prices. The Committee noted that expectations for longer-term inflation remained stable.