Eye On Housing - A Blog from NAHB

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National Association of Home Builders Discusses Economics and Housing Policy
Updated: 58 min 33 sec ago

Positive Trend for New Home Sales

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 11:14
Contracts for new home sales expanded by 6.1% in February, 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 February new single-family... Read More ›

Existing Sales Hit Inventory Wall

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 11:15
Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), reversed a January gain and decreased 3.7% in February. At the current sales rate, the February unsold inventory represents a 3.8-month supply, compared to a 3.5-month supply in January. February existing sales were up 5.4% from the same month a year ago, and reached a seasonally adjusted rate... Read More ›

Rental Apartment Absorption Flat While Condominium Absorption Jumps

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 09:45
The US Census Bureau, in collaboration with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, releases data on completions and absorption rates for multifamily buildings with at least 5 apartments. The most recent release shows that completions of nonsubsidized, unfurnished, rental apartments amounted to 73,800 in the third quarter of 2016. This is 11,700 more than the second quarter of 2016, but... Read More ›

Young Construction Workers Mean More Monitoring, Longer Projects

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 08:59
As described in a previous post, employment in the residential construction industry reached 2.68 million in January of this year.  Although this is still well short of the 3.45 million at the peak of the boom in 2006, it nevertheless represents an increase of more than 700,000 jobs since the employment trough of the Great Recession in 2011. This raises... Read More ›

Job Growth Continues for Builders and Remodelers

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 08:31
The count of unfilled jobs in the construction sector was below trend for the second consecutive month, as hiring has accelerated in the industry. 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 147,000 in January. The cycle high was 238,000 set in July of last... Read More ›

Solid Gain for Starts in February

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 09:30
Total housing starts posted an increase in February, with a solid gain for single-family construction and ongoing elevated levels of multifamily development. Total starts were up 3%, rising to a 1.288 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. Single-family starts recorded a monthly increase of 6.5% in February, rising to an 872,000 annual rate,... Read More ›

March Meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee – Meeting Expectations

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 17:31
Expectations were high that the March meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would end with an announcement of a 25 basis point increase in the target range for the federal funds rate. Those expectations were met, and at the press conference following the meeting, when asked why the third increase came so quickly, after the first two came... Read More ›

Consumer Price Index Rose Slightly in February

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 13:41
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), rose in February. The CPI rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.5% in February, the smallest increase since July 2016. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, “core” CPI increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.5%, following the 3.8% increase in January. The... Read More ›

Builder Confidence Reaches Cycle High

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 10:01
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped six points to a level of 71 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the highest reading since June 2005. While builders are clearly confident, we expect some moderation in the index moving forward. Builders continue to face a number of challenges, including... Read More ›

Softwood Lumber, Gypsum Products Lead Price Increases Among Building Materials

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 15:58
The prices of softwood lumber, gypsum, ready-mix concrete, and OSB all increased in February, according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The increases were led by gypsum products, with softwood lumber a close second. After decreasing in four of five months, the price of softwood lumber rose in February. The 4.8% increase was the... Read More ›

Home Equity Reaches A New Peak

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 10:00
According to the Federal Reserve Board’s fourth quarter of 2016 release of its Financial Accounts of the United States report, household holdings of real estate, measured on a not seasonally adjusted basis, totaled $23.102 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2016, $1.535 trillion higher than its level in the fourth quarter of 2015. Home mortgage debt outstanding, $9.754 trillion in... Read More ›

The Average Builder Uses 10 Different Green Products and Practices

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 08:59
On average, single-family builders use 10.2 different green products or practices, and 22 percent always or almost always have their homes certified to a green standard, according to a recent NAHB survey. The survey consisted of special questions on the January survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. A total of 337 single-family builders responded to these questions, one... Read More ›

The Employment Situation in February – Fits Like A Glove

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 12:51
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its Employment Situation report for February. Nonfarm payrolls expanded by 235 thousand and the prior two months were revised a net 9 thousand higher. The unemployment rate edged lower to 4.7%, based on a strong gain in employed persons (447 thousand) that outpaced a strong gain in the labor force (340 thousand), from... Read More ›

Non-Mortgage Consumer Debt Grows But at a Slower Rate

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 10:27
The total amount of consumer credit outstanding rose in January 2017 reflecting growth in non-revolving credit, auto loans and student loans. Meanwhile, the outstanding amount of revolving credit, largely composed of credit cards, shrank. According to the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Credit release, the total outstanding amount of consumer credit climbed by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.8 percent in... Read More ›

How Much Do Residential Remodelers Earn in a Year?

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 10:00
Findings from the recently released Remodelers’ Cost of Doing Business Study: 2017 Edition show that the net profit margin for the typical residential remodeler increased to 5.3% in 2015, up from 3.0% in 2011. Combining all sources, remodelers reported an average $1.8 million in revenue for 2015, of which $1.3 million (71.1%) went to pay for cost of sales items... Read More ›

Lumber Prices Rise to Start 2017

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 14:05
The price of lumber, from framing to structural panels, has increased in recent weeks with some prices rising more than 30%. Softwood lumber prices have been relatively steady since 2014.  During this period, the largest one-week price increase of framing lumber (+6.8%), as measured by the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Index, occurred in the middle of the recent price... Read More ›

Top Ten Publicly-Traded Builder Share Jumps in 2016

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:00
The 2016 top ten publicly-traded builders captured a 27.4% share of new single-family home closings, up from 25.6% in 2015. The 27.4% share in 2016 is out of the 559,000 new home sales reported by the Census Bureau. However, this count represents a smaller share of the total single-family market when not-for-sale, custom home building is included. 2016 Top 10... Read More ›

Consumer Confidence Rebounded in February

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 12:03
Consumer confidence increased in February after a decline in January. Consumers were more optimistic about both the current situation and the near term outlook. The Consumer Confidence Index, reported by the Conference Board, increased to 114.8 in February, from 111.6 in January. Both the present situation index and the expectations index rose in February. The present situation index rose from... Read More ›

Pace of Residential Construction Spending Continues Positive Trend

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 14:19
Private residential construction got off to an auspicious start in 2017, continuing the growth trend that began in October of last year.  NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending grew 0.5% in January 2017 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of $476.4 billion. Multifamily construction spending in January grew by 2.2% to a seasonally-adjusted... Read More ›

Mortgage Rates in January

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 10:50
Results from a survey administered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicate that mortgage rates rose in January 2017*. Over the month, contract rates on mortgages used to purchase single-family newly constructed homes increased by 24 basis points to 4.02 percent. Although the monthly change reported by FHFA contrasted with a report by Freddie Mac, the results of the... Read More ›