Still Sailing on Calm Seas

All quiet on the home front, at least that’s the way it has been for the past few weeks.

The lack of impacting news continues to hold mortgage rates in a narrow range.  For most of August, the conventional 30-year loan has been quoted between 3.375% and 3.625%. We expect this range to hold until the next employment report, due September 2. Even after the report, we might not get much movement. Few credit-market watchers expect the Federal Reserve to move on interest rates until December.

The lack of movement in mortgage rates has taken some steam out of refinances, which isn’t unusual. Refinances were down 4% last week compared to the previous week, according to MBA data.

Purchase activity was also down 4% last week. Activity has been trending lower over the past month.  The good news is that activity remains elevated compared to the five-year average. Compared to this time last year, applications are actually up 10%. We’re still looking at a healthy market.

Speaking of healthy markets, the new-home market might be the healthiest of them all. Home builders appear to think so, at least if we are to gauge sentiment.

The NAHB Home Builder Sentiment Index posted at 60 in August.  This is the second time this year the index has posted at 60 (which is a positive).  Components within the index show gains for both present sales and future sales. Traffic volume was the only negative, reflecting the continued dearth of first-time buyers.

Builder sentiment is reflected in builder action. Housing starts were up 2.1% to 1.21 million units on an annualized rate in July.  This gain is on top of the gain we saw in June, when starts were up a strong 5.6%. Starts for single-family homes, the most important category, rose a respectable 0.5%.

When we look at the long-term trend, we like that single-family starts lead the way. Multi-family starts are actually down 0.6% year to date; single-family starts, on the other hand, are up 10.6%. It’s also worth noting that single-family starts continue to run at a historically low rate. We wouldn’t be surprised to see several years of rising single-family starts and completions.

All told, we like where housing is heading. Then again, we’ve liked where housing has been heading for the past five years.

Information provided by Jessica Regan.

Search all Harrisburg PA homes for sale.

When you are buying or selling property in today's Harrisburg PA real estate market, it's important to have confidence in your real estate professional. Don’s commitment as your Harrisburg PA REALTOR® is to provide you with the specialized real estate service you deserve.

When you are an informed buyer or seller, you'll make the best decisions for the most important purchase or sale in your lifetime. That's why Don’s goal is to keep you informed on trends in Harrisburg PA real estate. With property values continuing to rise, real estate is a sound investment for now and for the future.

As a local area expert with knowledge of Harrisburg PA area communities, Don’s objective is to work diligently to assist you in meeting your real estate goals.

If you are considering buying or selling a home or would just like to have additional information about real estate in your area, please don't hesitate to call me at (717) 657-8700, complete my online form, or e-mail me at