Hurricanes Put a Damper on Some Housing Data
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma put a dent in new home construction in September. Total September Housing Starts fell 4.7 percent from August to the lowest level since September 2016, the Commerce Department reported. Single-family starts fell 4.6 percent from August, while multi-dwelling starts with five or more units saw a drop of 6.2 percent.
Overall, the South saw a 9.3 percent decline while gains were seen in the Northeast, Midwest and West. The annual readings were a positive takeaway, as total Housing Starts were up 6.1 percent from September 2016, single-family starts were up 5.9 percent, and multi-dwelling starts were up 7.9 percent.
Building Permits, a sign of future construction, fell 4.5 percent from August to September, just below expectations.
After three straight monthly declines, Existing Home Sales edged up 0.7 percent in September from August to an annual rate of 5.39 million units, just above expectations. September’s sales pace was 1.5 percent below September 2016 and the second slowest pace over the past year (behind August). Ongoing supply shortages and the hurricanes muted overall activity and caused sales to fall back on an annual basis, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
On a positive note, New Home Sales soared in September, the Commerce Department reported, surging 18.9 percent from August to 667,000 units, their highest level since October 2007. This was the largest monthly gain since January 1992!
Also, the October National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index rose four points to 68, as homebuilders rebounded from the initial shock of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The index measures sentiment among builders and any reading over 50 is considered a positive sign.
If you or anyone you know has any questions about home loans, please don’t hesitate to ask. At this time, home loan rates remain near historic lows.