NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises as Housing Starts Slip
Homebuilder confidence in current market conditions rose one point to an index reading of 65 in June. Any reading over 50 means that most builders view housing markets conditions as positive, but July’s reading was lower year-over-year.
Builders have long cited a shortage of buildable lots and labor, but also face new obstacles including strict local zoning laws and overall regulation. High demand for affordable homes coupled with short supplies of homes in this market range provided challenges to home builders, communities and would-be home buyers.
Housing starts fell in June to 1.125 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts predicted 1.244 million starts based on May’s reading of 1.265 million starts. The housing market index used to foreshadow the number of housing starts, but the two readings are no longer as closely connected.
The Commerce Department reported 1.220 million building permits issued in June as compared to 1.299 million permits issued in May.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week after three weeks of minor movement. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged six basis points higher at 3.81 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose one basis point to 3.23 percent.
5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rates averaged two basis points higher at 3.48 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable averaged 0.40 percent.
New jobless claims rose to 216,000 new claims filed as compared to 208,000 new claims filed the prior week. Analysts predicted 220,000 first-time claims would be filed. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose in July to 98.40 percent as compared to June’s reading of 98.20. Analysts expected a reading of 99.00.