Market Recap: Housing Market Index Soars, Housing Starts and Building Permits Increase, Existing Home Sales Decline

Blog posted On December 20, 2019

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Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, ahead of next week’s shortened holiday week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index improved, boosted by low mortgage rates and higher buyer demand.  Housing starts and building permits each increased, also.  Existing home sales, however, fell.

The NAHB housing market index jumped five points in December to a level of 76, the highest level since June 1999.  Current sales conditions surged to a level of 84, sales expectations for the next six months climbed to 79, and buyer foot traffic increased to 58.  Any reading above 50 is considered positive.  Strong buyer demand, lower mortgage rates, and a strong job market are creating positive conditions for home builders.

Housing starts and building permits each increased in November.  Housing starts increased 3.2% month-over-month and 13.6% year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.37 million.  Building permits also increased, up 1.4% month-over-month and 11.1% year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.48 million. 

Existing home sales or resales declined in November, down 1.7% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million.  Fewer available homes for sale may be hurting this figure.  The number of homes for sale has fallen 5.7% year-over-year to approximately 1.64 million units. 

Mortgage rates will likely stay low heading into 2020.  Home buyers looking to make a purchase and homeowners looking to refinance will continue to take advantage of historically low rates.  If you’d like to compare your current mortgage payment with a lower rate, check out our mortgage calculators.


Sources: CNBC, Econoday, MarketWatch, MarketWatch, Mortgage News Daily