Favorable news from the new construction sector This Week in Real Estate with the three month-moving average ending in October for single-family housing starts rising to a post-recession high, while builder confidence in November reached the second highest reading since July 2005. Below are a few highlights from the second week of November that influence our business:
* Housing Starts Rise in October. Total housing starts increased in October, with solid readings from the single-family sector. Total starts increased 13.7% to a 1.29 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. A jump in multifamily construction also increased the headline rate. Single-family starts increased for the month, rising to an 877,000 seasonally adjusted rate in October. This monthly annualized rate matches the post-recession high pace set in February of this year. However, the three month-moving average for single-family starts is at a post-recession high (860,000). Single-family starts are up more than 8% year-to-date compared to 2016 as limited existing inventory and solid builder confidence make for positive market conditions. Single-family permits, a reasonable indicator of future construction conditions, are running 10% higher on a year-to-date basis. Part of the gain for single-family construction in October was a rebound in Florida and Texas after project delays in September. Single-family starts in the South were up 17% compared to September.
* CoreLogic: Mortgage Delinquency Rates Lowest in More Than a Decade. CoreLogic released its monthly Loan Performance Insights Report Tuesday which shows that, nationally, 4.6 percent of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due including those in foreclosure) in August 2017. This represents a 0.6 percentage point year-over-year decline in the overall delinquency rate compared with August 2016 when it was 5.2 percent. As of August 2017, the foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, was 0.6 percent, down from 0.9 percent in August 2016. This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate for the month of August in 11 years since August 2006 when it was 0.5 percent. The rate for early-stage delinquencies, defined as 30-59 days past due, was 2 percent in August 2017, down slightly from 2.1 percent in August 2016. The share of mortgages that were 60-89 days past due in August 2017 was 0.7 percent, unchanged from August 2016. The serious delinquency rate (90 days or more past due) declined 0.5 percentage points year over year from 2.4 percent in August 2016 to 1.9 percent in August 2017. The 1.9 percent serious delinquency rate in June, July and August of this year marks the lowest level for any month since October 2007 when it was also 1.9 percent, and is also the lowest for the month of August since 2007 when the serious delinquency rate was 1.7 percent. Alaska was the only state to experience a year-over-year increase in its serious delinquency rate in August 2017.
*Builder Confidence Nears Post Crash High. Builder confidence increased for the second consecutive month after taking a hit in September from the late summer hurricanes. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) increased 2 points in November, hitting 70, the highest score since March. It was also the second highest reading for the index which measures NAHB’s new home builder members confidence in the new home market since July 2005. “November’s builder confidence reading is close to a post-recession high– a strong indicator that the housing market continues to grow steadily,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. Regional HMI scores are presented as three-month moving averages. The Northeastjumped 5 points to 54 and the South rose 1 point to 69. Both the West and Midwestremained unchanged at 77 and 63, respectively. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz commented, “Demand for housing is increasing at a consistent pace, driven by job and economic growth, rising homeownership rates and limited housing inventory. With these economic fundamentals in place, we should see continued upward movement of the single-family housing market as we close out 2017.”