Category Archive: Housing Market

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Rise in October

According to Case-Shiller national and 20-city home price indices for October, home prices continued to rise.  National home prices rose 0.70 percent for the three months ending in October. Year-over-year, national home prices increased by 6.20 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index also rose by 0.70 percent in October and reported a year-over-year increase of 6.40 percent.

The top three metro areas in the 20-City Index were Seattle, Washington with a year-over-year increase of 6.40 percent; Las Vegas Nevada followed with year-over-year home price growth of 10.20 percent. San Diego, California had the third highest home price growth rate at 8.10 percent year-over-year.

The year-over-year percentage increase was 1.30 percent below the all-time high reading for the 20-City Index.

Home Price Growth, Sales Could Face Headwinds in 2018

David M. Blitzer, CEO of the S&P Indices Committee, said that 2018 may bring challenges to home price growth. Mr. Blitzer said that while strong labor markets, economic growth, and low mortgage rates were major factors driving home price growth, higher mortgage rates are expected next year. Rising rates would make buying a home less affordable for some. Home price growth continued to outstrip inflation and income growth.

Mr. Blitzer cited an Urban Institute report that indicated that high-priced metro areas may compel would-be home buyers to consider renting. High-demand metro areas are subject to high rates of buyer competition and bidding wars can drive affordable home prices beyond the reach of first-time and moderate-income buyers.  Significant numbers of buyers turning to rentals could drop the demand for homes and possible ease the rate of home price growth.

Analysts expected home prices to continue increasing due to low supplies and high demand. Millennials are entering their home-buying years and relatively low mortgage rates have supported affordability, but higher mortgage rates and continued competition from investors and cash buyers could stifle demand for homes in the new year.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Outstrips Pre-Bubble Highs

Home builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders expressed their highest level of confidence in housing markets since 1999. The index reading for housing market conditions in December hit 74, which exceeded November’s reading of 70. Analysts expected a flat reading of 70 for December. Readings over 50 indicate improvement in housing market conditions.

The three component readings used to comprise the Housing Market Index also rose in December. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose four points for a reading of 81; builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months rose three points to 79. Most surprising was the jump in builder confidence in buyer traffic levels in new housing developments. Traditionally, this reading rarely exceeded 50, but in November, it achieved the benchmark reading. December’s reading for buyer traffic gained eight points to 58. December’s reading for builder confidence in buyer traffic reached its highest level since 1999.

Home Builder Confidence Reflects Strong Economic Conditions

Strength in jobs markets and overall economic conditions drove builder confidence; home builders also cited potential tax breaks associated with pending tax legislation. Tariffs on Canadian lumber were cited as an obstacle to builder profits and increased prices.

High demand for homes caused by slim supplies of homes for sale continues to boost home prices. Real estate pros have said that increasing construction of single-family homes is the only way to correct the current imbalance between rapidly increasing home prices and challenges for first-time and moderate-income home buyers who cannot compete with cash buyers or afford rapidly rising home prices.

Builder Confidence Expands in All Regions

Builder confidence also rose according to the three-month rolling average for builder confidence in the four regions tracked by NAHB. The Northeastern region reported a one-point increase for a regional reading of 54.  Home builder confidence gained six points in the Midwestern region for a reading of 69. Home builders in the South reported a confidence reading of 72, which was three points higher than in November. Builders in the Western region reported a two-point gain in confidence with a reading of 79 in December.