Eye On Housing - A Blog from NAHB

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National Association of Home Builders Discusses Economics and Housing Policy
Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

Rates Tick Down in March

4 hours 47 min ago
Following 4 consecutive monthly increases, results from the Mortgage Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicate that mortgage rates fell in March 2017*. Over the month, contract rates on mortgages used to purchase single-family newly constructed homes declined by 6 basis points to 4.12 percent. Despite the decline, rates remain above the low of 3.54 percent in... Read More ›

Homeownership Rate Stable

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 13:48
According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the U.S. homeownership rate was 63.6% in the first quarter 2017, which is statistically no different from its last quarter reading of 63.7%. The rate of homeownership appears to be stabilizing after reaching a cycle low of 62.9% in the second quarter of 2016. Compared to the peak at the end... Read More ›

Pending Sales Pause

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:43
The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 0.8% in March 2017, but remains 0.8% above its level a year ago. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased to 111.4 in March, down from 112.3 in February. The PHSI increased in the South by 1.2%, but fell... Read More ›

Consumer Confidence Declined in April

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 13:33
After hitting a post-recession high, the consumer confidence index, reported by the Conference Board, declined in April. Consumers were less optimistic about both the current situation and the near term outlook, compared with last month. The Consumer Confidence Index declined to 120.3 in April, from 124.9 in March. Both the present situation index and the expectations index dropped. The present... Read More ›

House Price Gains Continued in February

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:15
S&P Dow Jones Indices released the Home Price Index for February. House prices surpassed the pre-recession peak of 2006 and hit the highest level with a more moderate annual growth rate. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 5.2% in February, slower than the previous six months. House price appreciation reached... Read More ›

Strong March for New Home Sales

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:21
Contracts for new home sales expanded by 5.8% in March, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. The growth in sales continues along a positive trend for the market, which is supported by solid job growth, improving household formations, continuing favorable housing affordability conditions, and tight existing home inventory. The seasonally adjusted annual pace for March new single-family... Read More ›

Impact of the Duty on Canadian Lumber Announced April 25

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:05
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 ›

USDA Single Family Programs: Trends in Loans for Newly Constructed Homes

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 12:30
A recent NAHB study tracks trends in loans for new construction obligated under the USDA Single-family programs, the Section 502 Direct Loan Program and the Section 502 Guaranteed Loan Program. The report finds that, similar to the Federal Housing Administration’s single-family loan program, the USDA programs supported homeownership at a time when obtaining a conventional loan became increasingly difficult. However,... Read More ›

March Sales Roar Like a Lion

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:47
Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), surged 4.4% in March to the highest pace in ten years. At the current sales rate, the March unsold inventory represents a 3.8-month supply, unchanged from February. March existing sales were up 5.9% from the same month a year ago, and reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.71... Read More ›

Increase in Remodeling Market Index Reflects Broad-Based Confidence

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 10:05
The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) posted a reading of 58 in the first quarter of 2017, up five points from the previous quarter. This reading is the highest since the fourth quarter of 2015 (Figure 1). A RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter)... Read More ›

Young Adults & the Construction Trades

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:00
NAHB conducted a national poll of young adults ages 18 to 25 to find out how this age group feels about a career in the construction trades. The majority of young adults (74%) say they know the field in which they want to have a career.  Of these, only 3% are interested in the construction trades. Most of the young... Read More ›

Housing Starts Fall in March After a Strong February

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 09:55
Total housing starts declined in March, after a strong pace was recorded in February. Total starts were down almost 7%, falling to a 1.215 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. Single-family starts posted a monthly decline of 6% in March, falling to an 821,000 annual rate. The February annualized rate, 875,000, was the fastest monthly pace since... Read More ›

Builder Confidence Holds Firm in April

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 10:01
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained solid in April, falling three points to a level of 68 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) after an unusually high March reading. Builders continue to report significant interest among potential home buyers, with the traffic measure continuing to score above the breakeven level of... Read More ›

Energy and Core Prices Down in March

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 15:16
A sharp decline in energy prices pushed headline inflation negative in March, while core prices (excluding food and energy) fell based on a steep decline in the price of wireless telephone services. The consumer price index (CPI) declined at a 3.4% annual rate. Core prices declined at a 1.5% annual rate. Gasoline prices, declining at a 53.5% annual rate, were... Read More ›

Softwood Lumber and OSB Push Building Materials Prices Higher

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 16:01
For the second consecutive month, prices of softwood lumber, gypsum, ready-mix concrete, and OSB all increased, according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The increases were led by softwood lumber and OSB. The price of softwood lumber increased 2.3% in March after rising 4.8% in February. Softwood lumber prices have increased 7.2% over the... Read More ›

The Distribution of Residential Construction Loans Among Banks

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 10:30
Smaller banks, those with assets of less than $10 billion, hold the majority of residential construction loans, according to NAHB analysis of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) data. Unlike mortgages, a larger proportion of residential construction loans at FDIC-insured institutions are held by banks with assets between $100 million and $10 billion. In addition, a greater proportion of mid-sized banks... Read More ›

Non-Mortgage Consumer Debt Accelerates

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 13:30
The total amount of consumer credit outstanding rose in February 2017 reflecting growth in both non-revolving credit, auto loans and student loans, and revolving credit, mostly credit cards. However, the growth rate of non-revolving credit, which is the larger of the two classes, exceeded the percentage increase of revolving credit. According to the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Credit release, the total... Read More ›

Construction Job Openings Post Small Increase

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 10:20
The count of unfilled jobs in the construction sector increased slightly in February, after two months of lower levels of open positions. 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) rose to 169,000 in February. The cycle high is 238,000, set in July of last year. The open position... Read More ›

New Residential Energy Tax Credit Estimates

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 15:02
In 2005, Congress established a number of energy-efficiency tax incentives related to housing that benefitted new home buyers and remodeling homeowners. These policies included the tax code section 45L credit for the construction of energy-efficient homes (including for-rent residences and low-rise apartments), the 25C credit for retrofitting/remodeling existing homes, and the 25D credit for the installation of power production property in... Read More ›

The Employment Situation in March – Weather, Or Not

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 12:18
Unusually warm weather in January and February may have accelerated hiring in those months at the expense of additions to March payroll gains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that severe weather (e.g., the mid-March snow storms in the Midwest and Northeast) is more likely to reduce hours worked than workers on payrolls, but that “it is not possible... Read More ›