New homes sales down 17.6% | Bedford Corners Real Estate

The numbers: New-home sales surge higher

Sales of new homes in the U.S. rose in September, even though home prices rose to a new high.

U.S. new-home sales increased 14% to an annual rate of 800,000, the government said Tuesday. That figure represents the number of homes that would be sold over a yearlong period of time if the same number of properties were bought each month based on the rate of sales in September. Compared to a year ago, sales were down 17.6%.

The median forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch was that new home sales would come in at an annual rate of 760,000 for September.

The new-home sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau, unlike the existing-home sales report from the National Association of Realtors, reflects sales where the contract is signed but the transaction has not yet closed. The report’s small sample size also means that it is quite volatile and prone to large revisions.

What happened

The median sales price of new houses sold in September was $408,800, marking a new record high. The supply of new homes for sale fell by more than 12% between August and September, equating to a 5.7-month supply.

Regionally, the Northeast notched the largest percentage gain in new-home sales, while the Midwest was the only part of the country to record a decrease, as was the case the month prior.

The big picture

As Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson noted, Americans may be seeing “something of a revival in the housing market.” Both new and existing home sales have rebounded from the downturn earlier this year. A mix of factors could be at play.

“A combination of lower rates, easier lending standards and, perhaps, a renewed bout of COVID fear in cities, has driven the turnaround, which appears to be continuing in October, though perhaps at a slowing pace,” Shepherdson wrote in a research note.

To his latter point, rising mortgage rates could price out some home buyers at the margins, which could become a headwind for the market in the months to come.

What they’re saying

“Noticeably, the cost of lumber bounced off the August bottom of around $400, moving into the mid-$600s per thousand board feet. The increase ensured that homebuilders kept higher prices, pushing the median new home sale price up double-digits from a year ago,” said George Ratiu, manager of economic research for Realtor.com.

Market reaction

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index both increased in Tuesday morning trades.

Major home-builder stocks such as D.R. Horton, Lennar Corp. and PulteGroup turned positive following the new home sales report’s release.

read more…

realtor.com/news/real-estate

Mortgage rates average 3.09% | Chappaqua Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.09 percent. “Mortgage rates continued to rise this week due to the trajectory of both the economy and the pandemic,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Even as the availability of existing homes is improving, prices remain high due to home buyer demand and limitations on housing starts and permits resulting from the ongoing labor and material shortages. Despite these countervailing forces, we expect the housing market to remain strong as we head into the end of the year.”

News Facts

30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.09 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending October 21, 2021, up from last week when it averaged 3.05 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.80 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.33 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.30 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.33 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.54 percent with an average 0.3 point, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.55 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.87 percent.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

China’s real estate market struggles | Armonk Real Estate

China’s housing market slump has intensified in recent weeks as sales plunge and more developers default on their debt. Now the downturn has reached another milestone: home prices have begun falling for the first time in six years.

The 0.08% drop in new-home prices across 70 cities in September may be small, but it poses a potentially big blow for an economy that counts on property-related industries for almost a quarter of output.

Homebuyer sentiment is evaporating as a crisis at China Evergrande Group ripples through the industry. With prospective buyers already wondering whether cash-strapped builders can deliver their apartments, the risk is that they stay away in droves on fears that real estate is no longer a safe bet.

“Now the priority is to prevent a state of panic,” said Yan Yuejin, research director at Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institute. “The home market has clearly entered a downward cycle.”

Developers are struggling with regulatory tightening that has helped to choke off fresh financing and made it harder to pay bills. Evergrande alone owes more than $300 billion, and has yet to finish homes for 1.6 million buyers who put down deposits.

The drop in confidence has affected people like Carl, a property investment consultant in eastern Hangzhou. He says the number of prospective clients tumbled around 90% last month from the second quarter.

“Business is so light,” Carl said, asking not to give his full name while talking about government policy. One customer “became less and less interested each time we called him, and later on he wouldn’t even pick up our calls.”

The real estate downturn is already hurting China’s economy, which is also being dragged down by power shortages. Economic growth slowed in the third quarter as the property and construction industries contracted for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Peak Season

September is traditionally a peak season for the home market. Yet residential sales tumbled 17%, investments slid for the first time since early 2020, and the rate of failed land auctions climbed to the highest since at least 2018 — potentially hurting local government coffers.

Smaller cities, where the economy is weaker, were hit the most by last month’s price declines. Existing-home values slid 0.21% in 35 so-called tier-3 cities, the most since early 2015, National Bureau of Statistics figures showed Wednesday.

About three-quarters of cities saw second-hand home values fall from a month earlier. A price war is set to intensify in the coming months as landlords in wait-and-see mode surrender to the cooling trend, Yan said.

The downturn has continued into this month. Existing-home sales plunged 63% from a year earlier in the first 17 days of October, according to a Nomura Holdings Inc. note Monday.

“The effects of developers’ price discounts are waning,” Yang Kewei, a research director at China Real Estate Information Corp., said before the figures were released.

A Bloomberg index of China developer stocks fell 0.5% on Wednesday, taking its decline to 24% this year.

Fears of contagion from the crisis at Evergrande are brewing. Sinic Holdings Group Co. became the latest Chinese real estate firm to default as investors wait to see whether Evergrande will meet overdue interest payments on dollar bonds this week.

Yields on Chinese high-yield dollar bonds, which are dominated by builders, have climbed to their highest in about a decade, hurting a key funding channel for the sector.

That will have a knock-on effect on the broader economy, since Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates the property sector and related industries make up about 23% of gross domestic product.

Faster Mortgages

So far, authorities are largely resisting the urge to ease up on the industry. Regulators have told banks to speed up mortgage lending again, Bloomberg reported last week, but the central bank signaled on Friday it would keep monetary policy broadly unchanged in the near term.

Moves in the property and financial markets are a “stress reaction” to some defaults, People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng said Wednesday at a Beijing conference, China Business News reported. Property sector financing and costs have gradually been normalizing, Pan was quoted as saying.

There are “individual problems” in the real estate market, but the risks are controllable overall, Vice Premier Liu He said at the same event, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Reasonable funding needs in the sector are being met, Liu was quoted as saying.

Some analysts expect the current real estate slump to be less harsh than previous ones because inventories remain relatively small. Developers have been more rational about building projects in coastal cities where demand is higher, said Chen Long, a partner at Beijing-based consultancy Plenum.

“The relatively low stock of unsold housing limits the risk of a major downturn,” Oxford Economics said in a note on Wednesday. “We think the most likely scenario is a contained short-term downturn.”

Still, any recovery will be difficult until home values resume rising.

“If property prices stop growing, we won’t buy,” said Jack, a tech worker in Shenzhen who didn’t want to be identified by his surname for fear of reprisals from his company. “Right now, I’ll sit and watch.”

read more…

bloomberg.com

Mortgage rates surge to new high | North Salem Real Estate

Housing boom comes to Florida

Interest rates on the most popular type of U.S. home loan shot to a six-month high last week as global rates continued their march higher against a bout of stiff inflation and expectations that central banks will back further away from their pandemic-era easy-money policies.

The contract rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed to 3.23% in the week ended Oct. 15 from 3.18% the week before, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Wednesday in its weekly survey of conditions in the U.S. home lending market. That was the highest level since early April and is up by more than a quarter percentage point since the end of July.

The increase in rates helped drive overall mortgage-application volumes down by 6.3% to the lowest since July, led by a 7.1% drop in refinancing applications, the MBA said. Refinancing application volumes are also at their lowest since July, just fractionally above their lowest levels since early 2020.

Applications for loans to buy a home fell 4.9% to the lowest since early September.

“Purchase activity declined and was 12% lower than a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Insufficient housing supply and elevated home-price growth continue to limit options for would-be buyers.”

How quickly that situation is resolved remains the big unknown in the U.S. residential real estate market. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. homebuilding unexpectedly fell in September and residential construction permits dropped to a one-year low amid acute shortages of raw materials and labor.

Meanwhile, global interest rates continue to grind upward as central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve signal the days of crisis-era accommodation are nearing their end in the face of inflation rates running at their highest in decades due to supply bottlenecks and labor shortages.

The Fed is broadly expected at its next meeting in two weeks to announce plans to start scaling back its purchases of $120 billion a month of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities as a first step toward a normalization of policy.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, the most influential benchmark security in determining mortgage interest rates, hit its highest since May on Wednesday and has climbed nearly half a percentage point since late July.

read more…

reuters.com

Manhattan apartment sales hit a 32-year high | Mt Kisco Real Estate

More apartments sold in Manhattan in the third quarter of 2021 than at any point during the last 30+ years of tracking, a new real estate market report says. According to a Douglas Elliman report published this week, there were 4,523 closed co-op and condos sales in the quarter, more than triple the same period last year and 76.5 percent higher than the same time in 2019. Even more indicative of the market turnaround following Covid-19, this quarter passed the previous sales record of 3,939 reported in the second quarter of 2007. And in its own market report, The Corcoran Group found sales volume in Manhattan topped $9.5 billion, the highest quarterly volume total ever recorded. This passes the previous record of $8.54 billion set in the second quarter of 2019.

The borough’s sales surge was driven by “rising vaccine adoption, low mortgage rates, and improving economic conditions,” as the city recovers from the pandemic, according to the report.

Compared to the condo glut the Manhattan market saw last year largely because of Covid, inventory has fallen significantly. The report sites 7,694 listings this quarter, a decline of 17.4 percent compared to the same time last year. However, inventory remains high when looking at the 10-year average for the third quarter.

Another notable figure from the report is the increase in the number of “bidding wars,” which includes properties sold above the last listing price. Manhattan’s share of bidding wars rose to 8.3 percent, its highest level in three years, but still way below the 31 percent record set in the third quarter of 2015.

“What we’re seeing right now is a catch-up,” Jonathan Miller, the real estate appraiser who authored the report, told the New York Times in an interview. “All the suburbs were booming while Manhattan was seeing sales at half the normal rate last year. Now we’re seeing this massive surge.”

A third-quarter market report from Brown Harris Stevens looked at resale apartments and how the market is favoring sellers. The average price of resale apartments rose for co-ops by 17 roughly percent and for condos by 15 percent compared to last year. Plus, according to the report, sellers received 97.4 percent of their last asking price, the highest percentage in nearly four years.

read more…

6sqft.com/manhattan

Pending home sales fell 8.3% in August | Cross River Real Estate

Contracts to buy U.S. previously owned homes rebounded to a seven-month high in August, but higher prices as supply remains tight are slowing the housing market momentum.

Other data on Wednesday showed applications for loans to buy a house fell last week as mortgage rates increased after the Federal Reserve signaled it would likely begin reducing its monthly bond purchases as soon as November. There are indications that supply could improve in the fall.

“Supply constraints that are boosting prices are impacting affordability and have been a headwind for buyers,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York. “Gradually easing supply constraints should be a positive, although affordability concerns could temper sales in the very near term.”

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on signed contracts, jumped 8.1% last month to 119.5. That was the highest reading since January and followed two straight monthly declines.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast contracts, which become sales after a month or two, increasing 1.4%. Compared with a year ago, pending home sales fell 8.3% in August.

The housing market boomed early in the COVID-19 pandemic amid an exodus from cities as people worked from home and took classes online. But the pandemic tailwind is fading as vaccines allow workers to return to offices.

Pending home sales
Pending home sales

Expensive homes are also sidelining some first-time buyers from the market. The NAR reported last week that the share of first-time buyers was the smallest in more than 2-1/2 years in August. Existing home sales dropped last month. 

Data on Tuesday showed consumer sentiment towards buying a home weakening for a third straight month in September and house prices posting record gains in July from a year-ago.

Lumber prices have plummeted from record highs scaled in May, which economists and realtors hope will encourage builders to ramp-up construction of single-family homes. The resumption of foreclosures after a pandemic moratorium is also expected to ease the inventory crunch.

But house prices are likely to remain elevated, which together with rising mortgage rates could further erode affordability. In a separate report on Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for loans to buy a home fell 1.2% last week from the prior week.

Loan purchase applications were down 12% from a year ago. According to the MBA, mortgage rates across all loan types increased since last Wednesday’s announcement by the Fed, with the benchmark 30-year fixed rate reaching its highest level since early July.

MBA
MBA

The U.S. central bank’s massive monthly bond buying program to aid the economy’s recovery from the pandemic has helped to keep mortgage rates low. With U.S. Treasury yields rising in recent days, mortgage rates could creep higher, which could draw some buyers into the market in anticipation of further rises.

“We anticipate home sales will trend sideways over the remainder of 2021,” said Mahir Rasheed, a U.S. economist at Oxford Economics in New York.

The surge in pending home sales last month was led by the South and Midwest regions, where the NAR said house price increases have been generally moderate relative to the rest of the country. Contracts soared 10.4% in the Midwest and vaulted 8.6% in the densely populated South. They rose 4.6% in the Northeast and advanced 7.2% in the West.

read more…

reuters.com/world/us

Mortgage rates average 2.99% | South Salem Real Estate

 Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.99 percent.

“Mortgage rates continue to hover at around three percent again this week due to rising economic and financial market uncertainties,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Unfortunately, with the expectation that both mortgage rates and home prices will continue to rise, competition remains high and housing affordability is declining.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.99 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending October 7, 2021, down slightly from last week when it averaged 3.01 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.87 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.23 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.28 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.37 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.52 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.48 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.89 percent.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Case Shiller price index up 19.7% | Waccabuc Real Estate

S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for July 2021 show that home prices continue to increase across the U.S. More than 27 years of history are available for the data series and can be accessed in full by going to https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR 

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 19.7% annual gain in July, up from 18.7% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 19.1%, up from 18.5% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 19.9% year-over-year gain, up from 19.1% in the previous month.

Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in July. Phoenix led the way with a 32.4% year-over-year price increase, followed by San Diego with a 27.8% increase and Seattle with a 25.5% increase. Seventeen of the 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending July 2021 versus the year ending June 2021. 

MONTH-OVER-MONTH

Before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted an 1.6% month-over-month increase in July, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.3% and 1.5%, respectively.

After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 1.5%, and the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively. In July, all 20 cities reported increases before and after seasonal adjustments.

ANALYSIS

“July 2021 is the fourth consecutive month in which the growth rate of housing prices set a record,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P DJI. “The National Composite Index marked its fourteenth consecutive month of accelerating prices with a 19.7% gain from year-ago levels, up from 18.7% in June and 16.9% in May. This acceleration is also reflected in the 10- and 20-City Composites (up 19.1% and 19.9%, respectively). The last several months have been extraordinary not only in the level of price gains, but in the consistency of gains across the country. In July, all 20 cities rose, and 17 gained more in the 12 months ended in July than they had gained in the 12 months ended in June. Home prices in 19 of our 20 cities now stand at all-time highs, with the sole outlier (Chicago) only 0.3% below its 2006 peak. The National Composite, as well as the 10- and 20-City indices, are likewise at their all-time highs.

“July’s 19.7% price gain for the National Composite is the highest reading in more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data. This month, New York joined Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, and Seattle in recording their all-time highest 12-month gains. Price gains in all 20 cities were in the top quintile of historical performance; in 15 cities, price gains were in the top five percent of historical performance. 

“We have previously suggested that the strength in the U.S. housing market is being driven in part by a reaction to the COVID pandemic, as potential buyers move from urban apartments to suburban homes. July’s data are consistent with this hypothesis. This demand surge may simply represent an acceleration of purchases that would have occurred anyway over the next several years. Alternatively, there may have been a secular change in locational preferences, leading to a permanent shift in the demand curve for housing. More time and data will be required to analyze this question.

“Phoenix’s 32.4% increase led all cities for the 26th consecutive month, with San Diego (+27.8%) and Seattle (+25.5%) not far behind. As has been the case for the last several months, prices were strongest in the Southwest (+24.2%) and West (+23.7%), but every region logged double-digit gains and recorded all-time high rate increases.”

SUPPORTING DATA

Table 1 below shows the housing boom/bust peaks and troughs for the three composites along with the current levels and percentage changes from the peaks and troughs.

2006 Peak2012 TroughCurrent
 Index Level Date Level DateFrom Peak
(%)
 LevelFrom Trough
(%)
From Peak
(%)
National184.61Jul-06134.00Feb-12-27.4%265.3598.0%43.7%
20-City206.52Jul-06134.07Mar-12-35.1%272.34103.1%31.9%
10-City226.29Jun-06146.45Mar-12-35.3%284.7494.4%25.8%

Table 2 below summarizes the results for July 2021. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices could be revised for the prior 24 months, based on the receipt of additional source data.

July 2021July/JuneJune/May1-Year
Metropolitan AreaLevelChange (%)Change (%)Change (%)
Atlanta190.522.2%2.5%18.5%
Boston278.011.1%1.3%18.7%
Charlotte211.492.2%2.6%20.9%
Chicago168.101.2%1.7%13.3%
Cleveland156.021.1%2.3%16.2%
Dallas245.802.3%3.0%23.7%
Denver283.181.8%2.3%21.3%
Detroit156.191.2%2.2%16.1%
Las Vegas246.362.8%3.4%22.4%
Los Angeles358.501.4%1.9%19.1%
Miami310.502.2%3.0%22.2%
Minneapolis217.141.2%1.8%14.5%
New York241.861.1%0.8%17.8%
Phoenix280.473.3%3.6%32.4%
Portland302.711.5%2.2%19.5%
San Diego355.331.6%2.5%27.8%
San Francisco338.681.2%2.7%22.0%
Seattle343.920.9%1.6%25.5%
Tampa289.592.9%3.0%24.4%
Washington283.680.8%1.6%15.8%
Composite-10284.741.3%1.8%19.1%
Composite-20272.341.5%2.0%19.9%
U.S. National265.351.6%2.2%19.7%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through July 2021

Table 3 below shows a summary of the monthly changes using the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data. Since its launch in early 2006, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices have published, and the markets have followed and reported on, the non-seasonally adjusted data set used in the headline indices. For analytical purposes, S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes a seasonally adjusted data set covered in the headline indices, as well as for the 17 of 20 markets with tiered price indices and the five condo markets that are tracked.

July/June Change (%)June/May Change (%)
Metropolitan AreaNSASANSASA
Atlanta2.2%2.2%2.5%2.2%
Boston1.1%1.2%1.3%1.0%
Charlotte2.2%2.4%2.6%2.4%
Chicago1.2%1.1%1.7%1.2%
Cleveland1.1%0.7%2.3%1.7%
Dallas2.3%2.4%3.0%2.8%
Denver1.8%2.0%2.3%2.2%
Detroit1.2%1.0%2.2%1.3%
Las Vegas2.8%2.5%3.4%3.1%
Los Angeles1.4%1.7%1.9%1.7%
Miami2.2%2.0%3.0%3.1%
Minneapolis1.2%1.2%1.8%1.2%
New York1.1%1.0%0.8%1.0%
Phoenix3.3%3.2%3.6%3.4%
Portland1.5%1.4%2.2%1.8%
San Diego1.6%1.8%2.5%2.4%
San Francisco1.2%1.4%2.7%2.7%
Seattle0.9%1.4%1.6%1.5%
Tampa2.9%3.0%3.0%3.1%
Washington0.8%1.1%1.6%1.2%
Composite-101.3%1.4%1.8%1.6%
Composite-201.5%1.5%2.0%1.8%
U.S. National1.6%1.5%2.2%1.8%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through July 2021

For more information about S&P Dow Jones Indices, please visit https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

ABOUT S&P DOW JONES INDICES

S&P Dow Jones Indices is the largest global resource for essential index-based concepts, data and research, and home to iconic financial market indicators, such as the S&P 500® and the Dow Jones Industrial Average®. More assets are invested in products based on our indices than products based on indices from any other provider in the world. Since Charles Dow invented the first index in 1884, S&P DJI has been innovating and developing indices across the spectrum of asset classes helping to define the way investors measure and trade the markets.

S&P Dow Jones Indices is a division of S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI), which provides essential intelligence for individuals, companies, and governments to make decisions with confidence. For more information, visit https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

Residential construction costs up 12% in 2021 | Katonah Real Estate

Prices paid for goods used in residential construction ex-energy decreased 0.7% in August (not seasonally adjusted), according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decrease was largely driven by a decline in lumber and wood products prices and was the first monthly decline since the start of the last recession.  The price index of services inputs to residential construction also decreased in August as smaller gross profit margins of building materials retailers outweighed increases in the prices of freight transportation and other services.

Despite the monthly decline, building materials prices remain 12.3% higher than they were at the beginning of 2021.  Prices increased 2.1% over the same period in 2020.  Similarly, the price of services inputs to residential construction increased 6.6% from January to August 2020 but has already climbed 12.5% thus far in 2021.

Softwood Lumber

The PPI for softwood lumber (seasonally adjusted) decreased 27.7% in August and has declined 49.0% since May. The steep two-month decrease comes on the heels of an unexpectedly mild 0.7% decline in June that was largely the result of PPI methodology.  The PPI of most durable goods for a given month is largely based on prices paid for goods shipped in the survey month. This can result in lags relative to cash market prices during periods of long lead times.

Although the direction of the index value change is encouraging, the continued volatility is not.  Price volatility remains at an all-time high for a 12-month period.

Ready-Mix Concrete

Prices paid for ready-mix concrete (RMC) rose 1.6% in August.  The index for RMC has risen 5.1% over the past 12 months and 4.7% YTD—the largest year-to-date increase in August since 2006.

Prices rose in every region with the largest increase occurring in the Northeast (+2.9%).  Prices in the Midwest, West, and South increased by 1.9%, 1.7%, and 1.2%, respectively.

 Gypsum Products

The PPI for gypsum products increased 0.5% in August.  The index has increased 14.9% YTD and 22.7% over the past 12 months—the largest such increases since 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Steel Products

Steel mill products prices climbed 5.1% in August following a 10.8% increase in August.  Prices have nearly doubled in 2021, accounting for nearly all of the 111.6% increase since January 2020.

The monthly change in the steel mill products PPI increased by more than 10% only three times (in 1947, 1948, and 2008) over the 80-year period ending in 2020.  Monthly increases have exceeded that mark four times in 2021.

Services

The price of services used as inputs to residential construction decreased 5.7% in August.  The monthly decline was entirely driven by a 7.8% drop in the prices for trade services, the index for which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the PPI for “inputs to residential construction, services.”

The trade services PPI measures changes in the nominal gross margins for goods sold by retailers and wholesalers.  Unsurprisingly, hardware and building materials retailers make up the majority (56.4%) of trade services included as residential construction inputs. The PPI for building materials retailers decreased 11.6% in August while nominal gross margins for building materials wholesalers increased 5.7%.

The price indices for transportation and warehousing and services less trade, warehousing, and transportation increased 0.9% and 0.2%, respectively.  The price of truck transportation of freight increased 0.9% in August and has advanced 9.5% YTD.  Water transportation prices increased 1.3% over the month and have increased 9.0% YTD.

Other Building Materials

The chart below shows the 12-month and year-to-date price changes of other price indices relevant to the residential construction industry.

As Congress continues to work on an infrastructure package, the Construction Materials index is particularly salient.  This index, which has increased 23.9% year-to-date and 32.1% over the past 12 months, is much more heavily weighted with products used in large amounts in the production of “traditional” infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, rail).

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Mortgage rates average 2.86% | Lewisboro Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.86 percent.

“It’s Groundhog Day for mortgage rates, as they have remained virtually flat for over two months. The holding pattern in rates reflects the markets’ view that the prospects for the economy have dimmed somewhat due to the rebound in new COVID cases,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While our collective attention is on the pandemic, fundamental changes in the economy are occurring, such as increased migration, the extended continuation of remote work, increased use of automation, and the focus on a more energy efficient and resilient economy. These factors will likely lead to significant investment and new post-pandemic economic models that will spur economic growth.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.86 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending September 16, 2021, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.88 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.87 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.12 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.19 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.35 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.51 percent with an average 0.1 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.42 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.96 percent.

The PMMS® is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.