Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on U.S. housing markets, and Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® reported sales of previously owned homes, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
NAHB: Homebuilder Sentiment Rises in December
The National Association of Home Builders reported increased homebuilder confidence in U.S. housing market conditions in December; this was the first time in 12 months that homebuilder confidence rose. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose by four points; builder confidence in home sales conditions over the next six months increased by two points. Builder confidence in prospective buyer traffic in new housing developments rose by three points.
Jerry Konter, a Georgia home builder and chairman of NAHB, said: “It appears that the low point for building sent in this cycle was registered in December, even as many builders continue to use a variety of incentives including price reductions to bolster sales. The rise in builder sentiment also means that cycle lows for permits and starts are likely near, and a rebound for homebuilding could be underway later in 2023.”
Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist, predicted that single-family home building will increase as mortgage rates are expected to trend lower and boost housing affordability. Mr. Dietz said, “Improved housing affordability will increase housing demand as the nation grapples with a structural housing deficit of 1.5 million units.”
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 18 basis points to 6.15 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.28 percent and were 24 basis points lower on average.
First-time jobless claims fell to 190,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 215,000 initial claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 205,000 new jobless claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims increased to 1.65 million claims filed compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.63 million continuing jobless claims.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on new and pending home sales, consumer sentiment, and predictions on inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.