Friday Round Up 10/2/15

In a segment we’re calling Friday Round Up we gather the most important and interesting stories from around the web as it pertains to home building.

Home Prices In 20 U.S. Cities Increased 5% In July

Source: Builder Online

Bloomberg’s Michelle Jamrisko reports on the latest S&P/Case-Shiller index, which showed home prices increased by 5% year-over-year in July in 20 U.S. cities, slightly below economist expectations of 5.2% growth.

Driven by low inventories and high demand, prices rose 4.7% nationally over the same period, though economists had earlier estimated an increase of 5.2%.

“Home prices are rising but not at a rate that’s necessarily damaging to affordability and confidence in the market,” said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies LLC.

Sale And Contract Prices Per Square Foot In 2014

Source: Builder Online

In all, single-family homes ranged from $159 per square foot for contractor-built homes in the Pacific and New England divisions (the most expensive in the nation) to $80 per square foot for spec-built homes in the East South Central division.

The most expensive spec homes were in the Middle Atlantic division, with a median sale price of $149 per square foot. Sale prices for spec homes in the South region were the lowest, ranging from $79 in the West South Central division to $85 in the South Atlantic division, well below the national median sale price of $89 per square foot.

Nationally, square footage prices (excluding improved lot values) for both custom and spec homes increased just slightly, 4 and 2 percent respectively, compared to 2013.

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Consumer Confidence Rebounded in September

Source: Eye on Housing

The Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index for September. The index is a composite of separate indexes tracking consumers’ assessments of current business, income and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for the future.

The Conference Board also reported an increase in the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months, from 4.4% in August to 6.3% in September, confirming the August decline in home buying plans was only one dip in a volatile data series, not an early warning signal.

Interest rates are likely to rise going forward, as the 64.4% of respondents believe, but the evidence suggests this will not have a large negative impact on home buying. Instead, the steady rise in consumer confidence from the recession lows back to near its pre-recession peak will have a more substantial and positive impact on home buying.

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