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New Home price gains continue to moderate
Data through May show the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices increasing at a slower pace. The 10-city composite index gained 9.4% year-over-year, and the 20-city index was up 9.3%, down from the 10.9% and 10.8% returns, respectively, reported last month. All cities with the exception of Charlotte and Tampa saw their annual rates decelerate. For more, click here...

Pending home sales slip in June
After three consecutive months of solid gains, pending home sales slowed modestly in June, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 1.1% to a reading of 102.7 in June. The index is 7.3% below its reading of June 2013. Despite June's decrease, the index remains higher than 100 -- considered an average level of contract activity -- for a second consecutive month after failing to reach the mark since November 2013. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is stabilizing, but ongoing challenges are impeding full sales potential. For more, click here...

New home sales decline
Sales of new single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000 units in June, 8.1% below the revised May rate and 11.5% below the June 2013 estimate, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The median sales price of new houses sold in June was $273,500. An estimated 197,000 new homes were for sale at the end of June, representing a supply of 5.8 months at the current sales pace. For more, click here...

Mortgage rates remain near year's low
Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.13% for the week ending July 24, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.31%. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.26% this week, up from last week's average of 3.23%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.39%. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.39% this week, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 2.65%. For more, click here...

Remodeling index rises
The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) rose 3 points to 56 in the second quarter of 2014, regaining the momentum built in 2013. This is the fifth consecutive quarter for an RMI reading above 50. An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report it is lower. The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity. "With many home owners on better financial footing, home remodeling has become more popular," said NAHB Remodelers Chair Paul Sullivan, CAPS, CGR, CGP, of Waterville Valley, N.H. "The completion of postponed work has helped remodelers in all regions regain confidence in the remodeling market." For more, click here...

Mortgage applications increase
Mortgage applications increased 2.4% from a week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 18. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier. The refinance component of the index increased 4% from the previous week. The purchase component increased 0.3% from a week earlier. The unadjusted purchase component of the index increased 1% compared with the previous week and was 15% lower than the same week last year. For more, click here...

Existing home sales post June increase
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, climbed 2.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million units in June, from an upwardly revised 4.91 million in May, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales are at their highest pace since October 2013, but remain 2.3% below the 5.16 million-unit level a year ago. The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $223,300, which is 4.3% higher than the June 2013 median. This marks a 28th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. Total housing inventory at the end of June rose 2.2% to 2.30 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from May. For more, click here...

U.S. home prices up 0.4% in May
The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that U.S. house prices rose 0.4% in May from the previous month. The April index value was revised to reflect a 0.1% monthly price increase, above the original estimate of no change. The index is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From May 2013 to May 2014, house prices were up 5.5%. For more, click here...

June housing starts fall
U.S. housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000 units in June, 9.3% below the revised May rate but 7.5% higher than the June 2013 estimate, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Single-family starts in June were at a SAAR of 575,000 units, 9.0% below the revised May figure. Privately owned housing units authorized by permits were at a SAAR of 963,000 units, 4.2% below the May rate but 2.7% above the June 2013 estimate. For more, click here...

Builder confidence surpasses key benchmark in July
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes reached an important milestone in July, rising 4 points to a reading of 53 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Any reading higher than 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. "This is the first time that builder confidence has been above 50 since January, and an important sign that it is strengthening as pent-up demand brings more buyers into the marketplace," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. For more, click here...

Canada's New Housing Price Index advances
Canada's New Housing Price Index rose 0.1% in May, following five months of gains ranging from 0.1% to 0.3%. The increase was largely the result of higher new home prices in the Prairie region. For more, click here...

Canadian housing starts remained stable in June
Housing starts in Canada were trending at 185,939 units in June, compared to 184,019 in May, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts. The stand-alone monthly SAAR of starts was 198,185 units in June. The SAAR of urban starts increased to 181,979 units. Multiple urban starts decreased to 118,815 units, while the single-detached urban starts segment increased to 63,164 units. For more, click here...

International buyers invest in U.S. housing market
Favorable exchange rates, affordable home prices, and rising affluence abroad continue to drive international buyers to the U.S. to purchase properties and make real estate investments, according to the National Association of Realtors. NAR's "2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity" estimated international sales at $92.2 billion for the period April 2013 through March 2014. Sales for the same period a year earlier totaled $68.2 billion. "We live in an international marketplace; so while all real estate is local, that does not mean that all property buyers are," said NAR President Steve Brown of Dayton, Ohio. Four states accounted for 55% of the total reported purchases: Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas. Florida was the destination of choice, claiming a 23% share of all foreign purchases. For more, click here...

Canadian building permits jumped in May
Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $C6.9 billion in May, up 13.8% from April, according to Statistics Canada. This followed a 2.2% rise in the previous month. The increase in May resulted primarily from higher construction intentions for commercial buildings in Ontario and Manitoba, as well as multifamily dwellings in British Columbia. For more, click here...

Pending home sales surge in May
The National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 6.1% to a reading of 103.9 in May. The index remains 5.2% below its level of May 2013. May's increase was the largest month-over-month gain since April 2010. "Sales should exceed an annual pace of 5 million homes in some of the upcoming months behind favorable mortgage rates, more inventory, and improved job creation," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "However, second-half sales growth won't be enough to compensate for the sluggish first quarter and will likely fall below last year's total." Yun expects existing-home sales to be down 2.8% this year to 4.95 million units, compared to 5.1 million sales in 2013. For more, click here...

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


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