Last week's economic news included an encouraging report from the National Association of Home Builders, whose housing market index held steady with a reading of 60 in July. This was the 13th consecutive month for readings over 50, which indicate that more builders are confident about housing markets than those who are not. July's reading was noteworthy as it was the highest since November 2005 prior to the recession.
Last week's economic news largely concerned the Federal Reserve's FOMC meeting statement and a post-meeting conference given by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The FOMC statement indicated that the Fed continued its wind-down of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities and that its purchases are expected to cease after the next FOMC meeting.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) rose in July.
U.S. housing markets are gaining as demand for homes exceeds available supplies in many areas. The National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for June increased by eight points over May's reading to achieve a positive reading of 52. This last happened in August-September of 2002, when HMI monthly readings also jumped by eight points.
Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate at 3.37 percent -- an increase of 0.05 percentage points from the week prior.
Rising permits and housing starts suggests a more healthy U.S. economy.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis, Single-Family Housing Starts rose to 603,000 last month, an 11 percent increase from the month prior and the highest reading in more than 4 years.
Mortgage markets improved for the second consecutive week last week as demand for U.S. mortgage-backed bonds remained high.
Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Housing Starts for single-family homes up 5.5 percent in August to a seasonally-adjusted, annualized count of 535,000 units nationwide.
New construction housing is in a post-recession rally.