Last week’s scheduled economic news releases included readings on builder sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders and. Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued.
The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously owned homes and the University of Michigan issued its monthly report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
NAHB: Builder Sentiment Dips in November
Homebuilders were less optimistic about housing market conditions in November; the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index dipped by one point to an index reading of 70 for November. October’s reading of 71 was the highest in 20 months. Any reading over 50 indicates that most builders surveyed were positive about market conditions.
Sub-readings used to calculate the NAHB Housing Market Index reading were mixed. Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose one point to 77, but builder sentiment dipped two points to 76 for current market conditions. Builder sentiment about buyer traffic in new housing developments dipped one point to 53; buyer traffic readings rarely exceed a reading of 50.
Relatively low mortgage rates helped offset builder concerns over tariffs on building materials, but pending winter weather conditions likely impacted lower builder enthusiasm over housing market conditions.
Commerce Department Reports Increased Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued
Housing starts and building permits rose in October; Housing starts rose to 1.314 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to September’sreading of 1.266 million starts.
Building permits issued increased from September’s reading of 1.391 million permits issued to October’s reading of 1.461 million permits issued. Building permits issued for new homes in October reached their highest level since the recession. Ongoing shortages of available homes continued to boost demand for homes; any increase in new construction helps balance supply and demand for homes.
Sales of previously-owned homes fell short of expectations with a reading of 5.46 million sales at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate in October; analysts expected a pace of 5.47 million sales based on September’s reading of 5.36 million sales. Year-over-year sales of previously-owned homes rose 4.60 percent.
Supplies of available homes continued to fall according to the National Association of Realtors® as inventories slipped to a 3.9 months supply in October. Real estate pros consider a six-months supply of homes as a healthy balance between available homes and home buyers.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell nine basis points to 3.66 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.15 percent and were five basis points lower.
The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages also fell five basis points to 3.39 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.
New jobless claims were expected to drop to 218,000 claims filed but held steady at the prior week’s reading of 227,000 first-time claims filed.
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose to an index reading of 96.80 for November; analysts expected the reading to hold steady at October’s reading of 95.70 percent.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on home prices from Case-Shiller; reports on new and pending home sales and a speech by Fed chair Jerome Powell. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.