MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
December builder confidence drops to 86 but still at record-high level
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes fell four points to 86 in December, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Despite the decline, this is still the second-highest reading in the history of the series after last month’s 90. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions dropped four points to 92, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell four points to 85 and the gauge charting traffic of prospective buyers also decreased four points to 73.
Purchase loan apps up 2 percent from previous week and 26 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications increased 1.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans up 2 percent (and up 26 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity up 1 percent (and up 105 percent year-on-year).
November new home mortgage applications fall 16 percent from October, but up 34.7 percent year-on-year
Mortgage applications for new home purchases in November increased 34.7 percent compared from a year ago. Compared to October 2020, applications decreased by 16 percent. Estimated new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 827,000 units in November 2020, down 10.8 percent from October.
December index of economic activity slips as consumer services decline
The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index posted 55.7 in December, down from November’s 68-month high of 58.6. The rate of expansion was sharp overall, despite easing to a three-month low. The loss of momentum was most notable in the service sector, where additional restrictions and softer demand impacted consumer-facing business once again.
November retail sales dip 1.1 percent, but up 4.1 percent year-on-year
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November 2020 down 1.1 percent from October but up 4.1 percent year-on-year. Total sales for the September 2020 through November 2020 period were up 5.2 percent
from the same period a year ago. Nonstore retailers were up 29.2 percent from November 2019, while food
services and drinking places were down 17.2 percent from last year.