Purchase mortgage activity has been a bit weak in recent weeks, but we’re not worried.  We like this housing market and our affinity is unlikely to wane this year.  The outlook is simply too positive.

The outlook is certainly positive among homebuilders. The NAHB’s sentiment index increased two points to 60 following four-consecutive months stalled at 58. The latest report shows improving traffic, which has languished over most of 2016.  First-time buyer interest, in particular, is finally gaining traction.

Optimism picked up despite a slowdown in housing starts. Overall starts slipped 0.3% to 1.164 million units on an annualized rate in May. But there was a silver lining: Single-family starts continue to trend higher, rising 0.3% to 764,000 on an annualized rate. Year over year, single-family starts are up 10.1%.

As we all know, our bread is mostly buttered by existing-home sales. The NAR reports that existing-home sales sprang ahead in May to their highest level in almost a decade. Sales were up 1.8% to 5.53 million units. Prices continue to rise, with the median price of an existing home rising to $239,700, a record high.

Better yet, existing-home inventory is up, and that bodes well for summer sales. Inventory rose 1.4%  to 2.15 million existing units for the month.

To be sure, most people look to housing for shelter. But with financial markets riddled with uncertainty and volatility these days, we’re not surprised that more people look to housing as a store of wealth and as an investment opportunity. This, too, is unlikely to change in the indefinite future.

Information provided by Jessica Regan.

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