Last week’s economic news included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on home prices, Commerce Department readings on building permits issued, and housing starts. The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously-owned homes; weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
NAHB Housing Market Index Posts Lowest Reading Since May 2020
The housing market is cooling off according to July’s NAHB Housing Market Index, which declined to an index reading of 55 as compared to June’s reading of 67 and the expected reading of 66. July’s reading was the second lowest posted since the start of the index and was the seventh consecutive monthly decline in home prices.
Component readings for the Housing Market Index were also lower. Homebuilder confidence in sales conditions over the next six months lost 11 points for an index reading of 50 points. Homebuilders surveyed were less certain about expected buyer traffic in new housing developments as July’s reading decreased by 11 points to 37.
Regional results were also lower as builder confidence in the Northeastern region slipped by five points to an index reading of 57. Home builder confidence in the Midwestern regions fell by six points to 49. The Southern region’s reading was 15 points lower in July with an index reading of 60; home builder confidence in current market conditions in the Western region declined from June’s reading of 64 to 48 in July. Coastal metro areas that enjoyed rapidly rising home values saw declines in home values as affordability and demand for high-priced homes shrank amid economic uncertainty.
June Sales of Previously-Owned Homes Fall as Mortgage Rates Rise
Sales of previously-owned homes fell in June with 5.12 million sales completed on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a reading of 5.36 million sales; 5.41 million sales of previously-owned homes were reported in May. Rapidly rising mortgage rates and inflation sidelined prospective home buyers concerned about higher closing costs and rising day-to-day living expenses.
Freddie Mac reported higher fixed mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.54 percent and three basis points higher. 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.75 percent and were eight basis points higher. Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.31 percent and four basis points lower than in the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims rose to 251,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 244,000 new jobless claims filed and the expected reading of 240,000 first-time claims filed. 1.38 million ongoing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.33 million continuing claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on new home sales inflation and consumer sentiment Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.