The latest numbers on Housing Starts and Building Permits may encourage dismayed homebuyers facing a lack of inventory.
October Housing Starts surged, the Commerce Department reported, up 25.5 percent from September. It was the highest level since September 2007. Single-family starts, which make up the largest share of the market, jumped nearly 11 percent, while multi-dwelling starts skyrocketed by 68 percent. From October 2015 to October 2016, Housing Starts were up 23.3 percent. October Building Permits also rose 0.3 percent.
In more good news, Retail Sales were solid in October, which could spark a boost in the U.S. economy heading into the holiday shopping season. The Commerce Department reported Retail Sales rose 0.8 percent, above expectations, while September's numbers were revised higher. The positive numbers in September and October were the best two-month rise since early 2014. Retail Sales are up 4.3 percent from a year ago.
Wholesale inflation was unchanged and still tame in October, per the Producer Price Index report. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) edged higher but was in line with expectations in October at a 0.4 percent increase, though this was the largest gain in six months. Core CPI (which strips out volatile food and energy) was just below estimates. Year-over-year consumer inflation numbers edged lower.
Inflation will continue to be a data point to watch since increased inflation can hurt the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds, and home loan rates to which Mortgage Bonds are tied.
For now, although home loan rates edged higher following election results, they are still in attractive territory.
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Forecast for the Week
Investors will have a lot to digest in this shortened Thanksgiving week.
Existing Home Sales will be released Tuesday followed by New Home Sales on Wednesday.
Durable Goods Orders will also be released on Wednesday along with the Consumer Sentiment Index, weekly Initial Jobless Claims and the Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes.
The markets will be closed all day Thursday for Thanksgiving. On Friday, Stocks will close at 1:00 p.m. ET, while the Bond markets will close at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.
When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.
To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.
As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds have attempted to stabilize following their post-election dive.
Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Nov 18, 2016)