MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
September builder confidence rises to all-time high of 83
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased five points to hit an all-time high of 83 in September, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The previous highest reading of 78 in the 35-year history of the series was set last month and also matched in December 1998. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose four points to 88, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased six points to 84 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers posted a nine-point gain to 73.
Healthcare, autos and real estate leading global economic rebound
The latest data shows strengthening growth in a number of global sectors in August, led by healthcare services, automobiles & auto parts and real estate. Only five sectors registered falling business activity during the month, with tourism & recreation the bottom-ranked sector. Moreover, seven sectors registered an increase in employment during August, the highest number since February.
New home mortgage apps rise 4% in August and 33.3% year-on-year
Mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 33.3 percent compared from a year ago. Compared to July 2020, applications decreased by 4 percent (this change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns). The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of sales was 871,000 units in August, the second strongest of the year and well above the 785,000 units sold a year ago.
Retail sales rise 0.6 percent in August and 2.6 percent year-on-year
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2020 were $537.5 billion, an increase of 0.6
percent from the previous month, and 2.6 percent above August 2019. Total sales for the June 2020 through August 2020 period were up 2.4 percent from the same period a year ago.
Purchase loan applications dip 1 percent from previous week but up 6 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index decreased 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans dipping 1 percent (but up 6 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 4 percent (but up 30 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 3.07 percent.