Builder Confidence Rises to 85
Builder confidence rose two points to 85 in October after rising to 83 in September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). It was the first time the index has been above 80 for two consecutive months and the sixth consecutive monthly increase. All the HMI indices posted or matched their highest readings ever in October. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose two points to 90, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased three points to 88 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers held steady at 74. Regional scores all rose for the fifth consecutive month. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view the component as good than do as poor.
Building Permits Rise 5.2%
Building permits rose 5.2% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.55 million units after falling to 1.47 million units in August. Single-family permits increased 7.8% to a 1.12 million rate after rising to a 1.04 million rate in August. Multifamily permits dropped 0.9% to a 434,000 unit rate. On a year-to-date regional basis, permits were mixed.
Housing Starts Rise 1.9%
Housing starts rose 1.9% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.42 million units after falling to downwardly revised number in August. Single-family starts rose 8.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million units after rising 4.1% to 1.02 million units in August. It was the highest pace of single-family starts since 2007. Limited supplies of building materials are keeping starts from being even higher. Multifamily starts dropped 16.3% to 307,000 units after dropping sharply in August. Regional starts were mixed year to date compared to 2019.
New-Home Sales Fall 3.5%
New-home sales fell 3.5% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 959,000 from a downwardly revised number in August. Sales were up 32.1% from September 2019. Year-to-date new-home sales are up 16.9%. Inventory rose to a 3.6 months’ supply from 3.3 months in August, with 248,000 new single-family homes for sale, 32.1% below the supply in September 2019. Just 48,000 homes were completed and ready to occupy. The median sales price rose to $326,800 from $312,800 in August and $315,700 a year ago. NAHB noted that while demand was strong, increases in the price of lumber and other materials are driving up prices. New home sales rose in all four regions. 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 Rise 9.4%
Existing home sales rose 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million in September after rising to 6.0 million in August. Existing home sales were up 20.9% from September 2019. The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $311,800, up 14.8% from September 2019, as prices rose in every region. September's national price increase marks 103 straight months of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of September was 1.47 million units, down 1.3% from August and down 19.2% from September 2019. Unsold inventory was at a 2.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.0 months in August and down from a 4.0-month supply in September 2019. Properties are moving very quickly; 70% of homes were on the market for less than a month. For the fourth consecutive month, sales rose month over month and year over year in every region. Sales in vacation destination counties have been accelerating since July, with a 34% year-over-year gain in September.
Regional Housing Data
Mortgage Rates Slip to 2.8%
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