In his remarks in the latest issue of Eye on the Economy, National Assn. of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz provided the following overview of the housing market:
Despite ongoing positive market conditions, recent home sales data have come in below expectations. And in the months ahead, housing data is expected to be choppy as the economic impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma are registered.
Contracts for sales of new single-family homes fell an estimated 3.4% in August. Though sales have trended flat through the middle of 2017, year-to-date sales are 7.5% higher than they were at this point last year. While inventory has risen to a healthy 6.1 months’ supply, affordability remains a primary concern, especially as interest rates will continue to rise into 2018.
Similarly, the pace of pending sales of existing homes declined for the fifth time in the last 6 months, falling an estimated 2.6% in August. The low levels of inventory, particularly entry-level homes, is restricting sales growth in both the existing- and new-home markets. The good news is that economic conditions remain stable, and a recent NAHB analysis shows an increase of consumers planning to purchase a new home in the near term.
For further insights, go to the Eye on Housing blog.