After 6 years of doldrums, the overall housing market in the U.S. is finally back on track. But the new residence sector of the market is “running in place,” maintaining the modest gains made over the beginning of the year but not quite breaking through to growth levels.
According to Regions Financial chief economist Richard Moody, “the new-home sales figures by now have that lived-in feeling, with few signs of a significant change, in either direction, over the near term.” The sales pace of newly built homes is approximately 8% lower than last year’s figures, with July’s seasonally adjusted sales rate running 2.4% lower than June. The median price for a new home was 269,800 for July, with is the lowest rate since February.
Despite appearances, these numbers aren’t quite as terrible as they seem. New home sales in the South region are up by 5.4%. More importantly, the inventory of newly built homes reached a four-year high in July, with the six-month supply rate running over 5%. Given the serious labor and lot shortages that have strained residential homebuilding in recent years, these numbers are a positive indicator that the market grown for new homes is stabilizing, which experts consider a precursor to steady future market growth.
Patrick Newport and Stephanie Karol, economists for IHS Global, identify the modest pace of new home sales as a “temporary result of an inadequate supply of new homes,” which has driven the house prices up in the hotter housing markets.
The current mortgage rates are also beneficial for the US Housing market. According to Freddie Mac, the current average interest rates on mortgages sits at 4.10%, down from the 4.58% rate of a year ago.