MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
July housing starts jump 22.6 percent from June and 23.4 percent year-on-year
Privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,496,000, up 22.6 percent from June and 23.4 percent year-on-year. Single-family housing starts in July were at a rate of 940,000, up 8.2 percent from June.
July building permits rise 18.8 percent from June and 9.4 percent year-on-year
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,495,000, up 18.8 percent from June and 9.4 percent year-on-year. Single-family authorizations in July were at a rate of 983,000, up 17.0 percent from June.
Purchase loans rise another 1 percent even as rates edge up
The Market Composite Index decreased 3.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 1 percent (and up 27 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 5 percent (but up 38 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 3.13 percent.
Housing market defies seasonal trends as prices continue to rise and nearly half of listings sell within first two weeks
For the four-week period ending August 9, home sale prices were up 10 percent year over year—the largest increase in over six years—to another new all-time high of over $314,000. 46 percent of homes had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, the highest level since at least 2012. This measure is increasing at a time of year when it usually falls. Pending home sales were up 13 percent year over year, and have plateaued since early July, a time when sales usually begin to decline. The supply of homes for sale continued to fall; active inventory of homes for sale was down 28 percent year over year, but new listings were basically flat from 2019.
Online sales up 31.8 percent during 2Q 2020, share of all retail leaps to 16.1 percent
Although overall retail sales fell by 3.9 percent between between the first and second quarters of 2020, e-commerce sales rose by 31.8 percent. Year-on-year, whereas overall retail sales fell by 3.6 percent, e-commerce sales rose by 44.5 percent. The share of retail sales online leapt from 11.8 percent to 16.1 percent between the first and second quarters of 2020. At a time when this capture rate has historically been taking a year to rise by a single point, this increase is like squeezing over four years’ of growth into a single quarter.