Homebuilder confidence in June reached its highest since January 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. Their outlook on current sales conditions, sales expectations in the next six months, and buyer traffic were all positive.
The reason might be groundbreaking on single-family homes. The Commerce Department reported May Housing Starts on single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, rose 0.3 percent. Housing Starts on multifamily units declined. Building Permits, a sign of future construction, also rose 0.7 percent in May.
Home prices also continue to heat up. Data analytics firm CoreLogic reported that home prices rose 6.2 percent from April 2015 to April 2016, while month-over-month saw a 1.8 percent gain. This trend may level out with more homes available on the market.
Fed Doubles Down on Dovish Stance
Although housing continues to be a bright spot in the economy, other aspects have not consistently faired so well.
After weeks of talking up the economy, Fed Chair Janet Yellen was dovish following June's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. She noted economic growth was "relatively weak" in late 2015 and early 2016, job creation had slowed markedly, and household spending slowed despite increased household income and consumer sentiment.
And if that weren't enough, speculation and uncertainty leading up to Britain's June 23 vote to exit or remain in the European Union caused volatility in markets around the world.
On a positive economic note, Retail Sales grew for the second straight month, rising 0.5 percent in May, above expectations. Sales at clothing stores, online retailers, restaurants and bars all grew solidly. And Retail Sales were up 2.5 percent from a year ago.
The Bottom Line
The economy is important for homebuyers and homeowners. When the economy is doing well, investment dollars usually move into the more risky Stock markets, so investors can take advantage of gains. When the economy is not doing well, investment dollars typically are moved to the less risky Bond markets. Mortgage Backed Securities are a type of Bond tied to home loan rates. When Bond prices improve, home loan rates can as well. The reverse is also true.
For now, home loan rates remain near historic lows. If you have any questions about loan rates or products, please contact me.