Market Commentary and Intraday News
A look at the US housing market, at a glance
336 days ago
By The Associated Press
(AP:WASHINGTON) Americans are regaining confidence in the housing market five years after it collapsed.
Builders are starting work on more homes. Sales of new and previously occupied homes are up from the same time last year. Home prices are rising in most markets.
The market still has a long way to regain full health. But the data suggest the worst is over and a recovery is under way.
Here's a look at recent housing indicators:
U.S. builders began work in June on the most new homes in nearly four years. Housing starts rose 6.9 percent from May in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000. That's the highest since October 2008. The level of construction remains well below the rate of roughly 1.5 million homes a year that's considered healthy and the 2 million rate reached during the housing bubble. But it's much stronger than the annual rate of 478,000 homes at the depth of the housing bust.
Prices in half of the cities are up over the past 12 months, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index. And prices rose in nearly all major U.S. cities from March to April. Even with the gains, the index remains 34 percent below its peak reached in the summer of 2006, at the height of the housing boom. Based on the 20-city index, home prices are now at about the same level as in early 2003.
_ NEW-HOME SALES
Sales have reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 homes, the best pace since April 2010. Despite the gains, the level is less than half the roughly 700,000 that economists consider to be healthy.
_ SALES OF PREVIOUSLY OCCUPIED HOMES
Sales have risen 9.6 percent from a year ago, evidence that home sales are slowly improving. Still, the pace has slowed since nearly touching a two-year high in April and remains well below the 6 million that economists consider normal. Sales of previously occupied homes in May reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million.
_ BUILDER SENTIMENT
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders has reached a five-year high, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index. The index is based on responses from 318 builders. Builders report the best sales levels since February 2007, and their outlook for the next six months has reached its highest point since March 2007. Turnout by prospective buyers is also at a level not seen in five years.
_ MORTGAGE RATES: The average rate on the fixed-rate 30-year mortgage is at a record low of 3.56 percent. The rate on the 30-year loan has fallen to or matched record low levels in 11 of the past 12 weeks.
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