Builder Confidence Rises to 71
Builder confidence rose three points to 71 in October after rising to 68 in September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder confidence had been in the 60s since May. October’s reading was the highest level in 20 months. Lower mortgage rates and a shift to more affordable homes by many builders appear to be bringing buyers back into the market. All the HMI indices posted gains in October. The index gauging current sales conditions rose three points to 78, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months jumped six points to 76 and traffic of prospective buyers rose four points to 54. Builder Confidence rose in all regions.
Building Permits Fall 2.7%
Building permits fell 2.7% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.39 million units after rising to 1.42 million units in August. Single-family permits increased 0.8% to 882,000 units and multifamily permits fell 8.2% to 505,000 units. Regional permits were mixed.
Housing Starts Fall 9.4%
Housing starts fell 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million units after rising to 1.36 million units in August. Single-family starts increased 0.3% to 918,000 units from a downwardly revised August reading. Multifamily starts fell 28.2% to 338,000 units after jumping to 445,000 units in August. Regional starts were mixed. The single-family market appears to be gaining momentum, according to analysis from Wells Fargo. While single-family permits are running below single-family starts, Wells Fargo predicts that both starts and permits will be heading higher.
New-Home Sales Fall 0.7%
New-home sales fell 0.7% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 701,000 units after rising to a downwardly revised reading in August. New home sales were up 7.2% from September 2018. The inventory of new homes for sale fell to 321,000 homes in September, a 5-months’ supply at the current sales pace, down from a 5.5-months’ supply in August. The median sales price fell to $321,000 in September after rising to $328,400 in August. The median sales price in September 2018 was $328,300. Regional new home sales year to date were mixed. Sales of new homes are tabulated when contracts are signed and are considered a more timely barometer of the housing market than purchases of previously-owned homes, which are calculated when a contract closes.
Existing Home Sales Fall 2.2%
Existing home sales fell 2.2% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million homes after rising to 5.49 million homes in August. Sales were up 3.9% from September 2018. Sales fell in all regions. Current mortgage rates make buying a home very appealing, but a shortage of inventory has driven up price points. Total housing inventory rose slightly to 1.83 million homes and was up 5.9% from September 2018. Unsold inventory is at 4.1-months’ supply at the current sale pace, up from a 4-month supply in August and up from 4.4 months in September 2018. The median existing home price for all housing types in September was $280,800, up 5.9% from September 2018. September was the 91st consecutive month that home prices increased.
Regional Housing Data
Mortgage Rates Rise to 3.75%
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