It certainly is a nice improvement over silence to report that Building Permits for new homes were up 5.2% in September, 6.2% in October, and are now up 13% in the past year. The multifamily sector is hot right now, accounting for most of the monthly increases and for 60% of the annual gains. But single-family permits were also up from September to October and are now at a seasonally adjusted rate of 620,000 units, an 8.8% gain versus a year ago. The Census Bureau said September and October Housing Starts would be released with November numbers on December 18.
Home prices also continued to strengthen. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index went up 1% in September, to a 13.3% gain for the year, increasing in all 20 metro areas measured. The FHFA index of prices for homes financed by conforming mortgages edged up 0.3% in September and is up 8.5% over last year. The acting director of the FHFA announced last week that the $417,000 conforming loan limit will not be lowered, good news for the housing market. One slip; Pending Home Sales dipped 0.6% in October, but some expect existing home sales to start back up in December.
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Bruce Clark 215-416-3391
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