Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets and Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
NAHB: Builder Confidence Slips as Materials Costs Rise
The National Association of Home Builders reported that its Housing Market Index fell to an index reading of 82 in March as compared to February’s index reading of 84. Analysts forecasted a reading of 83. Builder concerns included rising materials costs and mortgage rates, which impact home pricing and affordability. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for NAHB, said that lumber prices have more than doubled since August 2020 and have added $24,000 to the cost of a home on average.
Regionally, builder confidence in housing markets declined in the Midwest, Northeast, and West but remained unchanged in the South.
Demand for new homes remained high as shortages of existing homes for sale persisted. Homebuilder sentiment was unchanged in the South but declined in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western regions of the U.S.
According to Commerce Department reports for February, housing starts declined to 1.42 million starts n a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to January’s reading of 1.58 million housing starts. Building permits issued also reflected growing builder concerns as permits issued fell to 1.68 million permits issued from 1.89 million building permits issued in January.
Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Mixed
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by four basis points to 3.09 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.40 percent. Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.79 percent and rose by two basis points.
Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
770,000 first-time jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 725,000 new jobless claims filed. Severe winter weather in Texas boosted new claims, which significantly exceeded analysts’ expectations of 700,000 new claims filed.
Continuing jobless claims fell to 4.12 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 4.14 million ongoing claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.Share
About the Author:Babak Moghaddam graduated from University of Southern California in 1985. He entered the mortgage industry as a compliance auditor at the Bank of New York in 1986 and completed his masters in Business Administration two years later. After seventeen years in the traditional mortgage banking world Babak finally transformed this vision into his own practice in 2002 when he formed Charter Pacific Lending Corp, a mortgage company that has provided over $900 Million in residential real estate loans throughout Southern California. Babak and his team do things a little differently than other mortgage providers. They work as financial advisors, because they have come to realize that a mortgage is a very powerful financial tool. And just like any other financial tool, it should be managed as part of the overall financial management plan to reach every home owner’s long and short-term financial goals much faster. You can contact Babak for a free consultation and strategy session at (800) 322-1217 X103.