The Mortgage Corner
The economy in the second and third quarters posted its best back-to-back growth in 11 years, And the Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators showed strong growth over the next six months. offering fresh evidence that the U.S. will enter the new year with good momentum.
The government last Tuesday said gross domestic product rose at a 3.9 percent annual pace in the third quarter instead of 3.5 percent. Combined with a 4.6 percent gain in the second quarter, the U.S. has posted its best six-month stretch of growth since the middle of 2003.
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.9 percent in October to 105.2 (2004 = 100), following a 0.7 percent increase in September, and no change in August.
“The LEI rose sharply in October, with all components gaining over the previous six months,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board. “Despite a negative contribution from stock prices in October, and minimal contributions from new orders for consumer goods and average workweek in manufacturing, the LEI suggests the U.S. expansion continues to be strong.”
The largest of the 10 contributors were manufacturer’s new orders, up some 10 percent, and the 10-year Treasury bond rate dropping from 2.62 percent to 2.21 percent, boosting consumer spending and housing sales.
“The upward trend in the LEI points to continued economic growth through the holiday season and into early 2015,” said Ken Goldstein, Economist at The Conference Board. “This is consistent with our outlook for relatively good, but not great, consumer demand over the near term. Going forward, there are continued concerns about slow business investment and lackluster income growth.”
S&P/Case-Shiller reported almost half of major cities tracked in Tuesday’s housing data saw prices fall in September, while almost half saw them rise. Overall, the gauge of home prices in 20 cities was basically unchanged in September, ticking down .03 percent, a sign the summer sales market has ended.
Annnual growth cooled as well, with year-over-year home prices rising 4.9 percent in September — the slowest pace since October 2012 — compared with annual growth of 5.6 percent in August.
Here’s a chart summarizing the results:
The leaders were Charlotte, NC, and Miami, while the year-over-year leaders in price rises were again Miami, Las Vegas and San Francisco. With the Federal Housing Finance Authority loosening some conforming mortgage qualification standards, and if conforming interest rates remain below 4 percent, we could see overall housing prices stabilize and maybe even begin to rise again in 2015.
But it all depends on the jobs market, of course, and we see robust job growth continuing into the first half of 2015, as well, before the Fed begins to raise their short term interest rates.
Harlan Green © 2014
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