When it comes to the market for newly built, single-family homes, America’s home builders are becoming more confident. According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), the outlook for newly built, single-family homes is at its highest level since June 2006. This is the sixth straight month of improvement.
Several mortgage rates are at nearly the lowest levels the U.S. housing market has seen. Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that 30 and 15 year fixed-rate mortgages are down. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has decreased to 3.37% from 3.39% the week before. 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are down to 2.66% from 2.70% a week before.
Several economists are looking to September’s rise in new home purchases as an important indicator of recovery for the U.S. housing market. A survey of economists by Bloomberg.com shows a 3.2% increase in home sales in September, an annual rate of 385,000. This would be the highest numbers for new home purchases in more than 2 years. A combination of low interest rates, improving market conditions and inventory are all making this an attractive time for homeowners to buy, which will allow the U.S. housing market to grow.
The CPSC and Atomi have issued a recall for Sharper Image USB wall chargers. The chargers can become a fire and burn hazard due to overheating. The recall is in effect for approximately 80,000 units sold.
According to an index compiled by the National Association of Home Builders, over 125 American housing markets are improving. The National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) looks at the health of housing markets on a local level. Metropolitan areas making gains in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months are added to the list of improving markets. This is the third month in a row with a positive gain in the IMI index.
The month of August saw increases in both existing-home sales and home prices. Existing-home sales for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops had a 7.8% increase month-to-month in August, which is 9.3% higher from the year before. This is the sixth consecutive month national median price increased on a year-over-year basis.
The CPSC and JELD-WEN have issued a recall for JELD-WEN and Reliabilt Interior Bifold Doors. The product can become an impact hazard due to its doors disengaging with its overhead track. The recall is in effect for approximately 170,800 units sold.
Recent numbers from the International Franchise Association (IFA) show an improving franchise industry in the U.S. An IFA index, which gauges the health of the industry, had a 0.5% increase in September. This is a 2.2% rise since September of 2011. The recent drop in the unemployment rate to lower than 8% and increases in small business loans are making franchises easier to own for Americans. The IFA is projecting a 1.5% increase in the number of franchises for this year.
Numbers released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau show production and permitting of new homes were at their highest levels in four years. The September numbers show a 15% gain in pace of new housing construction, the strongest numbers since July 2008. Both single-family and multifamily new home production saw gains with 11% and 25.1% increases respectively.
The CPSC and GE are issuing a recall for GE Profile Front Load Washers. The washers can become an injury hazard due to part breakage. The recall is in effect for approximately 62,000 units sold.