Last week’s economic reporting included readings on housing markets, building permits issued, housing starts, and sales of previously-owned homes. The Federal Reserve released its scheduled monetary policy statement and gave a press conference with Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence In Housing Markets Lags for 9th Consecutive Month
The National Association of Home Builders reported lower builder confidence in housing markets in September; this was the ninth straight month that builder confidence fell. Readings of 50 and above indicate that most home builders surveyed reported positive views of the U.S. housing market. Excluding readings during the pandemic, September’s reading was the lowest measure of builder confidence since May of 2014.
Component readings for the monthly housing market confidence reading were also lower in September. Builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months fell by one point and confidence in prospective buyer traffic in housing developments was also one point lower.
All four NAHB regions reported lower builder confidence readings in September than in August. The western region reported a ten-point drop in builder confidence and the southern region saw builder confidence in housing markets drop by seven points. The midwestern and northeastern regions each reported a drop of five points in builder confidence in September. Rising mortgage rates and home prices contributed to the dip in homebuilder confidence.
Federal Reserve Raises Target Rate Range and Mortgage Rates Follow
The Federal Reserve raised its target interest rate range again in an attempt to slow rapid inflation. The target interest rate range was raised by 0.75 percent to a range of 3.00 to 3.25 percent. The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate of maintaining inflation at or near two percent and achieving maximum employment.
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.29 percent and were 27 basis points higher than in the previous week. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 23 basis points on average to 5.4 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged four basis points higher at 4.97 percent. Discount points averaged 0.90 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 1 percentage point for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.
Initial jobless claims rose to 213,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 208,000 claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices along with reports on pending home sales and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.