Builder confidence in housing market conditions reached a new record high in November according to the National Association of Home Builders. November’s index reading of 90 was five points higher than in October. Index readings over 50 indicate positive builder sentiment toward market conditions. Readings for the Housing Market Index fell below 50 in April and May as the COVID-19 pandemic grew.
Last week’s economic news included readings on inflation, retail sales, and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The University of Michigan released a preliminary reading of its Consumer Sentiment Survey; weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims were also released.
Last week’s economic releases included readings on public and private sector employment, the national unemployment rate.
Home prices continued to grow in February according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. National home prices grew at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 4.20 percent as compared to national home price growth of 3.90 percent in January. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index showed higher home price growth rates in February with average annual home price growth of 3.50 percent. January home prices grew by 3.10 percent for cities included in the 20-City Index.
According to data compiled by Realtor.com in the fourth quarter of 2019, it is still more affordable overall to rent versus buy a home — but just barely. The median monthly mortgage payment at the end of 2019 was $1,600, while the median monthly rent payment was $1,319. This is largely due to steadily-increasing rates, rising home prices, and near-record-low mortgage rates.