Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On October 16, 2017

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Mortgage rates trended slightly downward last week.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market index on Tuesday. The housing starts and building permits reports will come out on Wednesday.  Existing home sales is scheduled for release on Friday. 

The NAHB housing market index is a composite reading of home builders’ perceptions on current sales, sales expected in the next six months and buyer foot traffic.  Any reading above the neutral level of 50 is considered positive.  In September, the index read 64, down from August’s reading. 

Housing starts measure ground broken on residential construction projects and building permits count permits issued.  These reports are used to gauge future housing activity like construction spending and new home sales.  In August, housing starts dropped to a level of 1.18 million and building permits improved to a level of 1.3 million. 

Existing home sales or resales count the sales of previously constructed homes. In August, existing home sales declined 1.7% month-over-month, but improved 0.2% year-over-year, to a level of 5.350 million.  Existing home sales make up the majority of real estate transactions and are used to predict future housing market trends. 

The housing industry has struggled to keep up with the demand for housing in recent months.  Home prices continue to appreciate, because there is not enough inventory for sale.  Mortgage rates remain historically low with the odds for an additional 2017 rate hike mixed. 


Sources: Bloomberg, MarketWatch, Mortgage News Daily