Looking at the latest news for real estate, housing and the economy for 10-21-2013. With just a dash of snark…
The good news is the idiots in Washington finally were able to end the government shutdown. Not that they actually did anything more than kick the can down the road. Let’s recap some of the big news from and see what we need to look forward to this week:
Existing Home Sales Down
Earlier today, NAR released the Existing Home Sales Numbers for September 2013. While this is a national report and not the down and dirty local info that buyers and sellers need to know, it does have BIG implications for real estate. Let’s cover the highlights:
- US existing-home sales fell 1.9% in September from the August level
- September 2013 existing home sales were 10.7% above the September 2012 level
- Existing home sales have remained above year-ago levels for the past 27 months
- The US median existing-home price for September 2013 was up 11.7% from September 2012
- This is the 10th consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year increases in median price
- All cash sales comprised 33% of transactions in September 2013
- Inventory is 1.8% above a year ago
While the YOY increase in both home sales and median price is great news, is that last little tidbit about increasing inventory. Too much or too little inventory is NOT good for a healthy housing market. Like I said, this is data for the entire US. Always look at the local numbers from a trusted reliable source before freaking out or thinking everything is fan-freaking-tastic!
Home Builders Less Confident
If you are like many people, you are concerned about where the country is headed. Maybe you don’t feel very confident about how things are or where they seem to be headed. And you are not alone according to the National Association of Homebuilders Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for October 2013.
Home builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes fell two points in October to a level of 55. This is lower than the expected level of 58 for October. NAHB said concerns over higher mortgage rates and the government shutdown were the main reasons that homebuilder confidence slipped.
The good news is that even though home builder confidence was lower than last month, it is still in positive territory. Readings over 50 indicates that more home builders are confident about housing market conditions than those who are not. Pent-up demand for homes is fueling home builder confidence, which grew by 34% over the past year and exceeded the rate of home construction growth.
Fed Says Residential Real Estate Improved
Last week, the Fed released its “Beige Book” survey of its 12 banking districts. 8 districts reported little or no change in economic conditions and 4 districts reported slower economic growth for September and October.
We did get positive news since they said that real estate and home construction were improved. They did point out they are also concerned about rising mortgage rates.
Despite the government shutdown, I was able to post the normal Mortgage Rate Update for October 18, 2013. Sadly both Freddie Mac and the MBA said average mortgage rates increased.
Because of the negative impact of the government shutdown and Obama nominating Yellen to head the Fed, I do not expect the Fed will start tapering Quantitative Easing any time soon. Whether or not this means rates will stay at historically low levels remains to be seen.
Some reports were delayed because of the shutdown. Here is what to watch this week:
- Nonfarm Payrolls and the Unemployment rate for September
- Consumer Price Index and Core CPI for September
- FHFA House Price Index for August 2013
- New Home Sales for September from the Census Bureau & HUD
- Reuter’s/University of Michigan’s Consumer sentiment index (final for October)
Wake the Freak UP: The continuing expansion of renters in the United States
Yet It Continues: Studies Show that Quantitative Easing Doesn’t Help the Economy
Small Compared to the Damage Done: $13 Billion JP Morgan Settlement
Must read: The Never List
No Shit Sherlock: Treasury Sec Says US economy bruised
Another must read: 7 signs that your mind is free