Last Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that Housing Starts dropped 11.7% in October. This drop put Housing Starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 519,000, their lowest level in 18 months. But most of the fall off came from a 43.5% decline in multifamily construction, a volatile part of the market. Single-family building, accounting for more than 80% of all starts, was off just 1.1%, to 436,000 units. And September single-family starts were revised UP to a 2.1% gain. Meanwhile, Building Permits, which reflect builders' views of the future, were UP 0.5% to 550,000, another hopeful sign.
The economic environment for Austin mortgage rates was little changed this week. Weaker than expected economic data and continued low inflation supported low Austin mortgage rates, and investor demand for bonds remained high. As a result, Austin mortgage rates again ended the week a little lower.
Freddie Mac's weekly survey showed Austin mortgage rates staying at record low levels for conforming loans. But demand for purchase loans has dropped after the tax credit expiration, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Last week gave us more proof the country's housing market is heating up. According to Freddie Mac's quarterly national Conventional Home Price Index (CMHPI), home prices were UP 0.9% in Q3 for their second quarterly increase in a row!
The economic reports before Thanksgiving were packed with housing market data and, guess what, they were all extremely positive! Monday saw Existing Home Sales UP 10.1% to an annual rate of 6.10 million, the highest since February 2007. Sales are now UP 20% in the past two months and UP 36% from their January lows. Even better, the supply of existing homes was down to just 7 months, with inventories down to 3.57 million, the lowest level in almost three years. This puts existing homes very close to the 6-month supply level of a healthy housing market. The Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose 0.3% in September. The index also showed its second consecutive quarterly increase, UP 3.1% for Q3, returning to August 2003 levels.
HERA At-A-Glance What happened? Going into effect on July 30, [...]