Housing Outlook Calls For More Market Momentum


October Housing Scorecard Finds Market On The Mend


Each month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development release a housing scorecard that highlights key market data and the results of federal recovery efforts. In October, the scorecard found positive price trends, low inventory, high affordability, increases in sales, and mortgage rates near record lows. Federal foreclosure prevention and mortgage modification programs have resulted in more than one million permanent HAMP modifications, saving homeowners a median of $541 on their monthly mortgage payment. Despite the strength of recent housing data, however, the report also cautions that the recovery will take place over time due to continued fragility in the market. Still, more than 18 million homeowners have refinanced their loans since April 2009 and home equity posted a sharp gain in the second quarter of this year.


Job Creation Holds Near Four Year High In October


Gallup’s Job Creation Index gauges whether American workplaces are adding or shedding employees by asking nearly 17,000 adults via telephone survey whether their employer is hiring or not. In October, the index moved up a point from September, remaining near the highest levels recorded since mid-2008. The index has now been hovering near those highs since March of this year. October’s results found 35 percent of American workers saying their employers are expanding the size of their workforce, while 16 percent reported their employer was letting workers go. Regionally, the Midwest and South continued to outpace the East and West, which has been a consistent trend since late 2010.


Housing Outlook Calls For More Market Momentum


According to the outlook of a group of economists recently gathered by the National Association of Home Builders, the housing market is recovering steadily and should continue to gain momentum though next year and beyond. David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, said we’re seeing a more robust housing sector than other parts of the economy due to rising home prices across the nation. The NAHB is forecasting a 21 percent increase in housing starts this year and an additional 26 percent climb in 2013. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, believes low mortgage rates, job market gains, and less economic uncertainty will lead to an acceleration in GDP growth as well as new home construction. A big part of this optimism is the housing market, Zandi said. Also, NAHB’s vice president of forecasting and analysis, Robert Denk, said that housing production should be 55 percent back to normal by the end of next year.

Economic Confidence Ends October On An Upswing


Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index reached its highest level since 2008 during the last week of October. And though confidence ranked higher many times prior to 2008, when Gallup tracked Americans confidence on a periodic rather than daily basis, it is the most positive reading since the financial crisis and resulting recession. The Index measures confidence based on Americans’ perceptions of both current economic conditions and the nation’s outlook. According to the most recent results, 45 percent of Americans now say the economy is getting better, while 49 percent say it’s getting worse. Despite the most positive outlook in four years, Gallup expects Americans will require additional economic growth before confidence moves into positive territory.