July 24th, 2018
Last week’s scheduled economic releases included readings from the National Association of Home Builders and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released
NAHB Housing Market Index Unchanged in July
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index held steady in July despite concerns connected with tariffs on building materials. Analysts said that high demand for homes continued to fuel builder confidence in housing market conditions, but some analysts said that housing market conditions may be at or near peak.
Builder confidence in current market conditions was unchanged with a reading of 74; confidence in housing market conditions within the next six months rose two points to 75. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single- family developments also rose two points to 52. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident about housing market conditions than not.
Commerce Department: Housing Starts, Building Permits Fall
June housing starts fell according to the Commerce Department with 1.173 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Housing starts were 12.30 percent lower than downwardly-revised readings for May. Building permits issued also fell in June. 1.273 million permits were issued on a year-over-year basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.301 million permits issued year-over-year. Builders faced difficulty in producing homes at attractive pricing due to increased costs of building materials.
Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single-family developments rose two points to an index reading of 52 in June. Summer months typically see more home buyer traffic due to school vacations providing a transitional period for families seeking new homes.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported mixed and minimal movement in mortgage rates last week. Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages were one basis point lower at 4.52 percent; rates for a15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.00 percent which was two basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 3.87 percent. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims fell to 207,000 claims filed, which was lower than the expected reading of 224,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 215,000 new claims filed.
This week’s economic releases include readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes, housing vacancies and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.