Last week’s economic news included a few housing market related reports including the Housing Market Index (HMI) for March 2014, a report on number of housing starts, and total number of building permits for February.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) also released their infamous Existing Home Sales report for February and the Federal Reserve issued its first FOMC statement.
National Home Builders Remain Conservative On Housing Market Conditions
The National Association of Home Builders Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose by one point to a reading of 47 in March against a reading of 46 in February and against an expected reading of 50. Readings above 50 signify that more builders have a positive view of housing market conditions than not. Summerlin real estate new home builders also remain cautious in the Las Vegas, NV market as inventory of resale homes continues to modestly increase. New home builders in Summerlin are building in only two villages currently which are Summerlin The Paseos and Summerlin The Mesa.
Contributing to the sluggish reading included a lack of lots for residential development and skilled worker shortages. The NAHB also cited rising home prices and mortgage rates as reasons for builders’ conservative outlook.
February Housing Starts And Building Permits
The U.S. Commerce Department released the Housing Starts and Building Permits Issued for February. National housing starts dipped to 907,000 in February against Wall Street estimates of 908,000 expected housing starts and January’s reading of 909,000 housing starts. Severe winter weather throughout the east coast froze construction and transport of building supplies.
Building permits issued increased to 1.02 million on a seasonally adjusted basis against January’s reading of 945,000 building permits issued.
February’s reading represents a 7.70 percent increase over January’s permits issued and was attributed to a sharp rise in plans for condominiums and rental housing projects.
Existing Home Sales Fall, Rising Home Prices And Mortgage Guidelines Cited
NAR reported a modest decrease of 0.40 percent in sales of existing homes for sale from January’s reading. February’s reading of 4.60 million homes actually sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis was lower than January’s reading of 4.62 million existing homes sold, but exceeded elevated anticipation of 4.58 million existing homes for sale sold.
Professionals identified familiar causes such as higher mortgage rates and elevated home prices, bad weather and a short supply of available homes for the dip in existing home sales. Higher standards for home mortgages became effective in this year and were seen as a possible roadblock to would-be home buyers as home mortgage lenders keep a tight rein on mortgage credit policies.
Las Vegas Area Mortgage Rates Drop
Home mortgage rates dropped last week according to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates for 15-year mortgages dropped from 3.38 percent to 3.32 percent. Average for 30-year fixed rate loans mortgage rates fell from 4.37 percent to 4.32 percent. These lower interest rates will directly lower the payments on Summerlin real estate for all buyers currently in the market place.
What’s Ahead This Week
Scheduled economic reports for this week include the Case-Shiller and FHFA Home Price Indexes for January. New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales will also be released.