After three straight monthly declines, Housing Starts jumped in June. Building Permits did too.
Housing Starts surged 8.3 percent from May to an annual rate of 1.215 million units, the Commerce Department reported. This is the highest level since February. Single-family starts, which represent the largest share of the residential housing market, rose 6.3 percent. The multi-family dwelling sector soared as well. Housing Starts also were up 2.1 percent from June 2016.
June Building Permits, a sign of future construction, also rose 7.4 percent from May's revised figure to an annual rate of 1.254 million.
While the increase in Housing Starts and Building Permits is positive news, both have some ground to cover. Inventories for existing and new home sales are still running below what is considered the normal six-month supply. In addition, higher prices for lumber and shortages of workers and land space could be potential hurdles to jump in the near future for new homebuilding.
At this time, home loan rates remain just above historic lows.
If you or someone you know has questions about home financing or home loan rates please contact me. I'd be happy to help.
Forecast for the Week
Fed monetary policy could be the cherry on top of this week's five-layer data cake.
Housing data kicks off on Monday with Existing Homes Sales, followed by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index on Tuesday and New Home Sales on Wednesday.
Consumer Confidence will be delivered on Tuesday while the Consumer Sentiment Index releases on Friday.
Though not an economic report, the Federal Open Market Committee meeting begins Tuesday and will end on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET with the release of the monetary policy statement.
Durable Goods Orders and weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be delivered on Thursday.
And last but not least, the first reading on second quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product will be released on Friday along with the wage-inflation-reading Employment Cost Index.
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 Bond prices have edged higher in recent days leaving home loan rates in attractive territory.
Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jul 21, 2017)