In a sign that the housing market in the US is slowing down, the annual gains in home prices have now declined below 6% - for the first time in a year.
The newly-released S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index report shows that nationwide home prices in August 2018 increased only 5.8% for the year (down from 6% in the previous month.)
The 20-City Composite Home Price Index increased 5.5% in August 2018 from a year earlier. This follows a 5.9% rise in July and misses market expectations of a 5.8% growth. Las Vegas (13.9%), San Francisco (10.6% - which has amazing homeless problems and property crime issues), and Seattle (9.6% - which is hurting small businesses with their high minimum wage laws) showed the highest y-o-y gains among the 20 cities in the Index.
Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the US has average 162.04 points from 2000 to 2018. It peaked in July 2018 with 213.77 points (it had hit a record low of 100 points in January 2000). In August 2018, it has eased from its peak to 213.72 points.
Building permits in the US in September 2018 stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,241,000, registering a drop of 0.6% from the previous month. This was lower than the market expectations of a rise of 0.2% or 1,278,000.
Building permits touched their lowest level since May 2017, with multi-family permits falling 9.3% to 390,000. However, single-family authorizations grew 2.9% to 851,000.
Housing starts dropped 5.3% from a month ago to an annualized rate of 1,201,000 in September 2018, while the market expected a fall of only 4.5%. This follows a gain of 7.1% in August.
New Home Sales
The sale of new single-family homes in the country dropped 5.5% from August to 553,000 in September 2018. This followed a downwardly revised 3% drop in August. The latest drop is the lowest rate since December 2016, and is lower than the market expectations of 625,000.
Pending Home Sales
Contracts to purchase previously owned homes shrank 1% y-o-y in September 2018, follow a drop of 2.4% in August. This marks the 9th consecutive month of annual declines in US pending home sales. On a month-over-month basis, the sales grew 0.5%, beating the market expectation of a decline of 0.1%.
Existing Home Sales
Sales of previous owned homes slumped by 3.4% to 5.15 million in September 2018. This follows a 0.2% drop in August, and is significantly lower than the market expectations of a decline of 0.7% to 5.3 million.
It is the lowest figure since November 2015 as the prices have gone up due to a reduce number of properties on offer for sale. While the median home price declined to $258,100 from $265,600 in August, but it grew from $247,000 a year ago. The number of homes available on the market dropped to 1.88 million from 1.91 million.
Construction spending across the US inched up 0.1% from a month ago to $1.32 trillion in August 2018, but was lower than the market expectations of a gain of 0.4%. Private construction spending fell 0.5% (compared to 0.2% in July). However, spending on public construction projects grew 2% to reach its highest level since July 2009. The increase in July was 1.7%
NAHB Housing Market Index
The US NAHB Housing Market Index increased to 68 in October 2018 from 67 in the previous month. This was a little above the market expectations of 67. The sub-index for single family home sales increased from 73 to 74 in October, while the gauge for home sales in the next six months rose to 75 from 74.
MBA 30-Year Mortgage Rate
According to data from the MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association), the US Fixed 30-year mortgage rate averaged 5.11% during the week ending October 26th, 2018. The rate was unchanged from the previous week, and represents the highest rate since February 2011.
MBA Mortgage Applications
The US mortgage applications declined 2.5% during the week ending October 26th, 2018, following a rise of 4.9% in the previous week. Applications for refinance dropped 3.8% and applications to buy a home decreased 1.5%. The average fixed 30-year mortgage rate remained unchanged at 5.11%.
Home Ownership Rate
The US home ownership rate went up to 64.3% in Q2 of 2018 against 64.2% in Q1.