Builder sentiment held steady in March as headwinds in housing markets affected homebuilder confidence, but National Association of Home Builders Chairman Greg Ugalde said that builders were looking forward to a “solid spring home-buying season.” Builder sentiment mirrored February’s index reading of 62; analysts expected an uptick to 63.
Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported the slowest rate of U.S. home price growth since November 2014. According to the 20-City Home Price Index, Home prices grew by 4.20 percent year-over-year and were 0.20 percent higher in December as compared to November. The 20-City Home Price Index fell short of analysts’ expected gain of 4.80 percent year-over-year. Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index reported home prices increased 4.70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
After raising the target range for the federal funds rate in 2018, the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee did not raise the Central Bank’s key interest rate at its meeting of January 29 and 30. While Committee members did not raise the Fed’s key rate, members were divided on the interest rate decision.
Many new buyers start looking for homes in the spring. The question in 2019 is whether buyers can afford available inventory or want to buy given changes to the tax code and increase in natural disasters.
Home price growth continued to struggle in November, with Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index moving from October’s reading of 5.30 percent annual growth to 5.20 percent growth in November. This was the lowest reading since January 2015.
After two months of declining builder confidence, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index gained two points in January with a reading of 58. Component readings of the HMI were also higher with builder confidence in current market conditions rose two points to an index reading of 63. Builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months rose three points to 64.
A growing supply of housing, volatility in the marketplace and risks in the development process all affected the multifamily market in 2018. In 2019, these three factors will continue to move the needle.
During its post-meeting statement, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced that its target range for the Fed’s key interest rate would increase one quarter percent to 2.25 to 2.50 percent. While this rate hike was not expected by the Executive branch, it met analyst expectations.
Just like Fantasy Football players try to predict who will score the most touchdowns, pass for the most yardage and win the Super Bowl, people with an eye on the real estate market also engage in speculation. Like sports fans, expectations are often driven by statistics from the previous season.
Home builder confidence in national housing market conditions rose one index point for a reading of 68 in October. Readings over 50 indicate that most builders are confident about market conditions. Rolling three-month averages showed mixed results. The Northeastern region gained three points for an index reading of 57; the Midwestern region lost two index points with a reading of 57 and the Southern region posted a gain of one point with a reading of 70. The Western region held steady at 74.