Hurricanes Effect Housing Numbers – Market Update


I hope everyone had a good weekend! Here in Detroit, we’re still reeling from a Lions football loss that has me questioning the definition of “indisputable visual evidence.”
You know what’s indisputable? Hard numbers and market data. We have plenty of it this week. Let’s jump right in.
Headline News
Housing Market Index
Home builder sentiment was down three points this month to 64. The index in the South did fall four points to 65. This could possibly be blamed on the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, although there wasn’t a pronounced drop. Sentiment in the Midwest was down six points to come in at 59. The Northeast was up one point, breaking even at 50. In the West, sentiment is up two points to 79. Traffic of buyers going through new homes is down one point to 47. There aren’t very many first-time home buyers interested in new homes because of low inventory and high prices. Both current sales and expectations for sales over the next six months are down four points to come in at 70 and 73, respectively.
Housing Starts
Housing starts were up 25,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis to come in at 1.18 million in August. This is despite the fact that starts fell 7.9% in the South, partially on the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Single-family starts are up 1.6% to 851,000 annually. Multifamily starts fell 6.5% to a projected rate of 329,000. On the permit side, these rose 70,000 to 1.3 million. Multifamily home permits were up 19.6% to 500,000 on an annualized basis. Single-family permits were down 1.5% to come in at 800,000.
MBA Mortgage Applications
Mortgage applications were down 9.7% last week, with applications to purchase falling 11%. Refinance applications also fell 9% as the average rate on a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was up one basis point to 4.04%.
Existing Home Sales
Hurricane Harvey impacted sales in the South, which were down 5.7%. Sales fell 90,000 nationwide to come in at 5.35 million on a seasonally adjusted basis in August. Sales fell 4.8% in the West as well. This is down 1.7% on the month overall. The annual sales increase fell from 2.1% to 0.2% in August. There was a 2.4% sales gain in the Midwest and a 10.8% gain in the Northeast. Single-family home sales were down 2.1% to 4.74 million. Condo sales were up 1.7% to 610,000. On the year, single-family sales are up 0.4% and condos were down 1.6%. Prices were down to a median of $253,500. Supply was down 6.5% on the year to 21.88 million and fell 2.1% on the month. There are 4.2 months’ worth of existing homes on the market if sales hold at the current pace. This has helped prices rise 5.6% on the year despite last month’s drop.
Jobless Claims
Initial claims were down 23,000 to 259,000 last week. Analysts can’t be sure whether this is a real drop or if displaced workers in Texas and Florida are having trouble filing claims. Initial claims in Florida doubled to 10,000 last week. Claims after Hurricane Harvey in Texas went up more than 50,000 to settle at 60,000 immediately after the storm hit. It was only 28,500 claims this week, but that’s still double what’s normal. Puerto Rico saw claims go up slightly and claims in South Carolina and the Virgin Islands needed estimations due to storms. The four-week average of initial claims was up 6,000 to 268,750. Continuing claims were up 44,000 to 1.980 million showing partial hurricane effects. Meanwhile, the four-week average was up 6,500 to come in at 1.953 million.
FHFA House Price Index
Home prices were up 0.2% according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the month of July. They’re up 6.3% on the year. The Mountain and Pacific states are especially strong, with yearly gains of 8.2% each. Mid-Atlantic states bring up the rear at 4.4% annual growth.
Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates increased last week. The Federal Reserve met and said they were going to begin selling the portfolio of assets they picked up in the quantitative easing cycles after the turmoil of 2008. That process will begin in October.
Because many of the bonds the Fed bought are mortgage-backed securities, the yields on these bonds will have to go up when the Fed starts selling in order to attract new buyers. When yields rise, so do rates. If you’re in the market for a mortgage right now, it’s a great time to lock your rate .
Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages were up five basis points to 3.83% last week, with 0.5 points in fees. Rates at this time last year were 3.48% on 30-year fixed mortgages.

In shorter terms, 15-year fixed mortgages saw rates rise by the same amount to 3.13%, with 0.5 points in costs. Last year, 15-year fixed rates at this time were 2.76%.
Finally, the rate on 5-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) with 0.4 prepaid fees and points was 3.17%, according to Freddie Mac. This is up four basis points on the week. Last year at this time, the average rate on 5-year ARMs was 2.80%.
Stock Market
Apple stock had its worst week in more than a year, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a week of gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.36% on the week to close at 22,349.59 points Friday, despite falling 9.64 points on the day. The S&P 500 was up 1.62 points to come in at 2,502.22. It finished the week up 0.08%. Finally, the Nasdaq finished at 6,426.92, down 0.33% on the week. It was up 4.23 points Friday.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, September 26
S&P Case-Shiller HPI (9:00 a.m. ET) – The S&P Case-Shiller Home Pricing Index tracks monthly changes in the value of residential real estate in 20 metropolitan regions across the U.S.
Consumer Confidence (10:00 a.m. ET) – The Conference Board compiles a survey of consumer attitudes on the economy. The Consumer Confidence Index is based on consumer perceptions of current business and employment conditions, as well as their expectations when considering business conditions, employment and income.
New Home Sales (10:00 a.m. ET) – This measures the number of newly constructed homes with a committed sale during the month.
Wednesday, September 27
MBA Mortgage Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The mortgage applications index measures applications to mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.
Durable Goods Orders (8:30 a.m. ET) – These are based on new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for factory hard goods.
Pending Home Sales Index (10:00 a.m. ET) – The National Association of Realtors developed the Pending Home Sales Index as a leading indicator of housing activity. Specifically, it’s a leading indicator of existing home sales, not new home sales.
Thursday, September 28
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (8:30 a.m. ET) – This measures the monetary value of all final goods and services produced within the U.S. This report is released on a quarterly basis.
International Trade in Goods (8:30 a.m. ET) – The Bureau of Economic Analysis has begun breaking out the goods from the remaining international trade numbers to get an idea of import and export estimates for GDP calculations.
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals filing for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing trend suggests a deteriorating labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.
Friday, September 29
Personal Income and Outlays (8:30 AM ET) – This is a measurement of how much consumers are taking in as well as their corresponding spending. This also gives insight into how much is being saved.
Consumer Sentiment (10:00 a.m. ET) – The University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Center questions 500 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending.
There’s a ton of important data coming out next week that should give us insight into the health of the overall economy. We’ll have it all covered here for you next week.
If this mortgage and economic news isn’t enough to get you fired up, we have plenty of home, money and lifestyle content that we can’t wait to share with you if you subscribe to the Zing Blog below. The Lions didn’t win, but the University of Michigan came through for me on Saturday. If you’re a college sports fan, we have some really cool mascot GIFs that you and your friends can use on game day. It’s a long season, but good luck to your teams.
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