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State & National Updates
Eye on the Economy

Fed Raises Interest Rates

For just the second time since the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve increased its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. While still low, the rate increase continues the path toward higher interest rates and a normalized monetary policy after years of stimulative policy designed to support an economic recovery. The current outlook is for three additional rate hikes in 2017. Economic growth remains modest, though the pace could increase with a fiscal stimulus in the form of deficit-financed tax cuts or government spending increases as the Trump administration takes office.

 

The move by the Fed is consistent with recent labor market data, which reveal tight employment conditions. The unemployment rate declined to 4.6% in November, as 178,000 jobs were created during the month, of which 19,600 positions were in the home building and remodeling sector. Over 120,000 jobs have been created in residential construction within the last year. While solid employment figures are good news for housing demand, ongoing labor constraints are an inflation risk and a motivation for the Fed to continue raising rates in 2017.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Employment

 

Residential Construction Employment Rises

Number of job openings continued its upward trend in November.

 

Employment Situation in November: Step 2

The stage is set for the next move toward monetary policy normalization. 

 

Home Building Employment Still Far Below its Peak

New NAHB study shows which states were the hardest hit and slowest to recover from the downturn.

 

Consumers

 

NAHB Releases 2016 'Priced Out' Estimates

New data reveals the delicate balance of housing affordability with increasing rates and regulations.

 

Home Owner Equity Continues to Increase

Home prices reach a new high as the portion of underwater homes dwindles.

 

Consumers Express Optimism in November

The current and near-term outlook is positive thanks to ongoing employment and economic growth.

 

Steady Growth for Personal Income

October's 0.6% rise was the biggest in the last six months.

 

Lending

 

Federal Reserve Chair: Rate Increase a Vote of Confidence

Strong economic growth is expected in the years ahead. 

 

Non-Mortgage Credit Expands

Federal Reserve Board reports consumer debt continues to climb. 

 

Rates Hold Steady in October as Increases Expected

Existing homes saw an uptick of one basis point, while rates for new homes fell two basis points.

 

Serious Delinquency Rates Show Improvement

But concerns persist regarding student and auto loans.

 

Trends

 

Popularity of Building Information Modeling Increases

Reliance on this project management technique has grown significantly among NAHB members.

 

Pending Sales Maintain Pace

Tight supply in October led to 40% of homes selling at or above list price.

 

Strong Growth Continues for Multifamily Construction 

Record-breaking spending brings the current total up to $63.7 billion.