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.
NAHB: Builder Sentiment Jumps in September, Housing Starts and Building Permits Fall
The National Association of Home Builders reported a four-point increase in its Home Price Index for October. Builders surveyed reported higher confidence in overall market conditions, which resulted in a reading of 68. Analysts had expected no change in the September reading of 64. Natural disasters have raised builder opportunities for new projects, but the industry continues to be swamped with labor shortages and rising materials costs.
While stronger builder confidence is expected to impact housing starts and building permits issued, both reports had lower readings in September. Housing starts were calculated at 1.215 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. An expected reading of 1.170 million housing start was based on August’s reading of 1.183 million starts. Single-family housing starts were lower than for August but were 9.10 percent higher year-over-year.
Building permits issued fell in September; 1.215 million permits were issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to 1.272 million permits issued in August. Higher readings for building permits are expected in the aftermath of recent hurricanes and wildfires, but increased starts and permits will include replacing damaged structures as well as building new developments.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, Existing Home Sales Rise
Fixed mortgage rates were lower after the 10-year Treasury rate fell six basis points. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 3.88 percent the average rate for a 15-year mortgage dropped by two basis points to 3.19 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.17 percent, an increase of one basis point. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Sales of existing homes rose in September according to the National Association of Realtors®. Previously-owned homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million sales. Which surpassed August’s reading of 5.35 million sales and expected sales of 5.30 million previously-owned homes. Any increase in sales is a welcome sign that the severe shortage of homes for sale may be easing. It’s too early to know how hurricanes and fires will affect housing markets and it will take months to rebuild all homes destroyed.
Weekly jobless claims fell to 222,000 and were lower than the expected 244,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 244,000 new jobless claims filed. Fewer jobless claims suggest that jobs markets continue to expand and may help renters decide to buy homes.
Next week’s economic readings include reports on new and pending home sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.