Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on national and regional U.S. housing markets. The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously-owned homes, and the Commerce Department released readings on building permits issued and housing starts. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence in Housing Market Falls for 10th Consecutive Month
The National Association of Home Builders reported that home builder confidence in the U.S housing market fell for the 8th consecutive month in October; the organization described the situation as “unsustainable.” The NAHB Housing Market Index, which is based on index readings from 1 to 100, fell to an index reading of 38 in October as compared to the expected reading of 44 and September’s reading of 46. NAHB index readings below 50 indicate that most builders are less confident about housing market conditions than are positive about the U.S single-family housing market.
NAHB’s regional U.S housing market readings were mixed with the Northeast region reporting a one-point increase in homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions from an index reading of 47 to 48. Home builder confidence in the Midwest fell to a reading of 38 in October from September’s index reading of 42. Homebuilder confidence in housing markets in the South fell by 11 points to an index reading of 41 in October. Homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions lagged in the West from September’s reading of 34 to October’s index reading of 25. Rising mortgage rates and high home prices combined to quash homebuilder enthusiasm.
Existing Home Sales Fall in September
The National Association of Realtors® reported slower sales of previously-owned homes in September as compared to August. 4.71 million sales were reported in September on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Previously-owned homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 4.78 million sales in August.
The Commerce Department reported that 1.56 million building permits were issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in September Analysts expected a reading of 1.54 million permits issued, which was unchanged from August’s reading. In related news, 1.44 million housing starts were reported on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in September. Analysts expected a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.47 million housing starts based on August’s seasonally-adjusted annual reading of 1.57 million housing starts.
Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week, but they rose at a slower pace than in recent weeks. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.94 percent and were two basis points higher than in the previous week. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.23 percent and were 14 basis points higher. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by 10 basis points to 5.71 percent. Discount points averaged 0.90 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 1.10 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.
Initial jobless claims fell last week with 214,000 new claims filed as compared to 226,000 first-time claims filed in the previous week. Analysts expected 230,000 new jobless claims to be filed. 1.39 million ongoing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 1.36 million continuing claims filed in the previous week.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on U.S home prices, new and pending home sales, and inflation. The University of Michigan will issue its monthly reading on consumer sentiment and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.