US Home Prices Continue to Hit New Highs in April, Rising 1.2% from March, Up 6.0% Year-Over-Year
The Data and Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. released its latest Home Price Index (HPI) report, based on April 2017 residential real estate transactions. The Black Knight HPI utilizes repeat sales data from the nation’s largest public records data set, as well as its market-leading, loan-level mortgage performance data, to produce one of the most complete and accurate measures of home prices available for both disclosure and non-disclosure states. Non-disclosure states do not include property sales price information as part of their publicly available county recorder data. Black Knight is able to obtain the sales price information for these states by combining and matching records across its unique data assets.
– At $275K, the national-level HPI is the highest it has ever been, marking a 3.6% gain in home prices since the start of 2017
– Washington continues to outperform the nation, leading all states in monthly appreciation for the third consecutive month and with the Seattle metro area seeing an 8.4% gain in home prices since the start of the year
– Seattle and Bellingham, Wash. – along with Carson City, Nev. – led all metropolitan areas with 2.3% monthly appreciation; Washington state accounted for five of the nation’s top 10 best-performing metros
– All of the nation’s 20 largest states and 40 largest metros saw home prices increase in April, while each of the top 10 best-performing metros saw home prices increase by 2.0% or more
– Tuscaloosa, Ala., was the only metro area to see a decline, with prices falling another 5.1% in its fifth consecutive month as the country’s worst-performing metropolitan area
– Home prices in nine of the nation’s 20 largest states and 18 of the 40 largest metros hit new peaks in April
US coal mining surges in 2017 following last year’s record decline
The United States, China and India, the world’s largest coal users, have increased coal mining this year by 6% following 2016’s record global decline. Among the three counties, production through May is up by at least 121 million tons compared to the same period last year, according to data reviewed by The Associated Press. The change is most dramatic in the United States where production is up 19% within just the first five months of 2017, according to the US Department of Energy. The new data is a reversal from last year’s trend, where tonnage mined worldwide fell 6.5%, the largest drop on record, according to data from BP. China and the US accounted for almost all of the decline. The reasons for this year’s turnaround include policy shifts in China, changes in US energy markets and India’s continued push to provide electricity to more of its poor, industry experts said. President Donald Trump’s role as coal’s booster-in-chief in the US has played at most a minor role, they said. Earlier this month President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement intended to curb global emissions. The president said the agreement impacted his ability to fulfill his “America First” campaign promise to revive jobs and the economy in the United States. Trump’s advocacy for reviving the coal-mining industry stands as an exception among the three top coal producing nations’ leaders. Yet the US also is where coal’s rebound could be briefest. Cheap natural gas, a growing appetite for renewable energy and stricter pollution rules spurred utilities to shut down or announce retirements for several hundred US coal plants. Many companies made investments based on the shift toward cleaner energy and many experts believe market forces will continue to push the trend in that direction.
NAR – 71% of homeowners believe it’s a good time to sell; economic and financial confidence
Existing housing inventory has declined year over year each month for two straight years, but new consumer findings from the National Association of Realtors® offer hope that the growing number of homeowners who think now is a good time to sell will eventually lead to more listings. That’s according to NAR’s quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey, which also found that fewer renters think it’s a good time to buy a home, and respondents are less confident about the economy and their financial situation than earlier this year despite continuous job gains. One trend gaining steam in the HOME survey is an increased share of homeowners who believe now is a good time to sell their home. This quarter, 71% of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, which is up from last quarter (69%) and considerably more than a year ago (61%). Respondents in the Midwest (76%) surpassed the West (72%) for the first time this quarter to be the most likely to think now is a good time to sell. Confidence among renters that now is a good time to buy a home continues to retreat. Fifty-two% of renters think now is a good time to buy, which is down both from last quarter (56%) and a year ago (62%). Conversely, 80% of homeowners (unchanged from last quarter and a year ago) think now is a good time to make a home purchase. Younger households, and those living in urban areas and in the costlier West region are the least optimistic.
The surge in economic optimism seen in the first quarter of the year appears to be short lived. The share of households believing the economy is improving fell to 54% in the second quarter after soaring to a survey high of 62% last quarter. Homeowners, and those living in the Midwest and in rural and suburban areas are the most optimistic about the economy. Only 42% of urban respondents believe the economy is improving, which is a drastic decrease from the 58% a year ago. Dimming confidence about the economy’s direction is also leading households to not have as strong feelings about their financial situation. The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months fell to 57.2 in June after jumping in March to its highest reading in the survey. A year ago, the index was 57.7. In this quarter’s survey, respondents were also asked about the affordability of homes in their communities. Overall, only 42% of respondents believe they are affordable for almost all buyers, with those living in the Midwest being the most likely to believe homes are affordable (55%) — and not surprisingly — West respondents (29%) being least likely to think homes are affordable. Additionally, 20% of respondents would consider moving to another more affordable community. Those earning under $50,000 annually (27%) and those age 34 and under (29%) were the most likely to indicate they would consider moving.
Trump urges India PM Modi to ease barriers for US exports, lauds strong ties
US President Donald Trump urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do more to relax Indian trade barriers on Monday during talks in which both leaders took great pains to stress the importance of a strong US-Indian relationship. At a closely watched first meeting between the two, Trump and Modi appeared to get along well. Modi pulled in Trump for a bear hug on the stage as the cameras rolled in the Rose Garden. “I deeply appreciate your strong commitment to the enhancement of our bilateral relations,” Modi told him. “I am sure that under your leadership a mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new positivity, and will reach new heights.” Trump was also warm but made clear he sees a need for more balance in the US-India trade relationship in keeping with his campaign promise to expand American exports and create more jobs at home. Last year the US trade deficit with India neared $31 billion. Trump said he would like a trading relationship that is “fair and reciprocal.” “It is important that barriers be removed to the export of US goods into your markets and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” he said. Trump said he was pleased about an Indian airline’s recent order of 100 new American planes and that the United States looked forward to exporting more energy, including major long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas. These energy contracts “are being negotiated and we will sign – trying to get the price up a little bit,” Trump said. Modi came to Washington looking to revitalize a relationship that thrived under former President Barack Obama but has appeared to flag as Trump courted India’s rival China in an effort to persuade Beijing to do more to rein in North Korea. Modi effusively praised Trump, hailing his “vast and successful experience in the business world” and “great leadership” for US-India ties, which he said should “lend an aggressive and forward looking agenda to our relations.”
NAHB – Statement from NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald on proposed canadian lumber tariffs
Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas, today issued the following statement regarding the US Commerce Department’s preliminary decision to impose up to 7.7% anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber imports: “This latest action by the Commerce Department to impose anti-dumping duties of up to more than 7% on Canadian lumber shipments into the US is basically another tax on American home builders and home buyers that will jeopardize affordable housing in America. Adding this new tariff to the proposed 20% countervailing lumber duty that the Trump administration slapped on imports of lumber this spring means that total tariffs would be a whopping 27%. Given that lumber is a major component in new home construction, the combined duties will harm housing affordability and price countless American households out of the housing market. A robust housing market is essential to stimulate job and economic growth. With the US housing sector regaining its footing, imposing arbitrary protectionist restrictions to subsidize domestic lumber producers will blunt this forward momentum and make homeownership more expensive for hard-working families. Clearly, this is not the way to resolve the US-Canada lumber trade dispute or to boost the American economy. The US relies on Canada for approximately one-third of its lumber needs because of the limited domestic timber supply available for harvesting. Policymakers need to take steps to significantly reduce red tape that prevents the US Forest Service from better managing its timber lands and increase the delivery of domestic timber products into the mark.