Morning Briefing: Housing market on the rise but stifled by labor, costs

by Steve Randall21 Jan 2016
Housing market on the rise but stifled by labor, costs
The housing market showed improvement in 2015 but was constrained by labor shortages and the cost of lots. That’s according to the National Association of Home Builders, reacting to the latest figures from the HUD and the US Commerce Department. The data shows an increase in housing starts of 10.8 per cent to 1.11 million units with single-family starts rising 10.4 per cent to 715,000 units. Overall permit issuance increased 12 per cent to 1.178 million units in 2015. 

“These numbers are in line with what our members are telling us that housing markets are improving, but lot and labor shortages continue to be a problem for many builders,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

The NAHB is forecasting continued growth for 2016.
 
Refinancing applications up last week
Applications for mortgages increased in the week ending Jan 15 according to the weekly index from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association. The seasonally adjusted Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey rose 9 per cent compared to the previous week; on an unadjusted basis it was up 12 per cent.

The Refinance Index increased 19 per cent from the previous week; the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 per cent; the unadjusted Purchase Index increased 4 per cent compared with the previous week and was 17 per cent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 59.1 per cent of total applications from 55.8 per cent the previous week. ARM share increased to 6.0 per cent; FHA share decreased to 13.7 per cent from 14.4 per cent; VA share decreased to 10.8 per cent from 12.2 per cent; USDA share decreased to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent.

Mortgage applications for new homes fell in December
Mortgage applications for new homes decreased by 5 per cent from November, excluding any seasonal adjustment.

Data from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association reveals that conventional loans composed 68.0 per cent of loan applications, FHA loans 18.5 per cent, RHS/USDA loans 1.0 per cent and VA loans 12.6 per cent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $320,854 in November to $333,182 in December.

The MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 480,000 units in December 2015, a decrease of 8.4 percent from the pace in November. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates that there were 34,000 new home sales in December 2015, a decrease of 8.1 per cent from November.

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