Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions. Reporting on housing starts and building permits was released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Grows as Demand for Homes Increases
November’s national reading for home builder confidence in housing market conditions for single-family homes rose three points to an index reading of 83 and the expected reading of 80. Component readings for the national index were mixed. Builder confidence in home sales for the next six months was unchanged at an index reading of 84. Builder confidence in potential buyer traffic in new housing developments rose three points to an index reading of 68. Readings over 50 indicate that a majority of home builders were confident about housing market conditions.
High demand for homes continued, but builders faced ongoing obstacles including shortages of lots and labor. Robert Dietz, the chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, said: “ Lot availability is at multi-decade lows and the construction industry currently has more than 330,000 open positions.” Mr. Dietz urged policymakers to address these issues to enable builders to better meet the high demand for single-family homes.
Three of four regional readings for builder confidence in housing market conditions rose, while the Northeast’s reading fell to 69 in November from October’s reading of 73. The Midwest reading rose to 75 in November from October’s reading of 72. Homebuilder confidence in the South also rose three points to 87 in November. The Western region posted a two-point gain in builder confidence for an index reading of 87.
Housing starts fell by one million starts in October to 1.52 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Building permits issued in October rose to a pace of 1.65 million permits issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Housing starts and building permits issued do not always reflect builder confidence readings.
Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported higher fixed mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 12 basis points to 3.10 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also rose 12 basis points and averaged 2.39 percent; the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell four basis points to an average rate of 2.49 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.
Initial jobless claims rose to 286,000 new claims filed from the prior week’s reading of 269,000 first-time claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims fell to 2.08 million claims filed from the prior week’s reading of 2.20 continuing jobless claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic readings include sales of new and previously-owned homes, reporting on inflation and consumer sentiment are also scheduled. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will be released in advance of the Thanksgiving holidays on Thursday and Friday.