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US housebuilder sentiment hits 18-year high in December

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Monday 18 Dec 2017

US housebuilder sentiment hits 18-year high in December

(ShareCast News) - Sentiment among US housebuilders improved more than expected in December, hitting an 18-year high, according to data released on Monday.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index rose to 74 from 69 the month before, beating expectations for a reading of 70 and making the highest report since July 1999.

The component measuring buyer traffic was up eight points to 58, while the index gauging current sales conditions rose four points to 81 and the index charting sales expectations in the next six months increased three points to 79.

NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz said: "The HMI measure of home buyer traffic rose eight points, showing that demand for housing is on the rise. With low unemployment rates, favourable demographics and a tight supply of existing home inventory, we can expect continued upward movement of the single-family construction sector next year."

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "The labour market is strong, and home prices nationally are trending higher by about 6% year-over-year, so with mortgage rates at about 4.2%, implied real rates are negative. Lending standards are still tight, but they are stable, and an increasing proportion of would-be buyers presumably can now meet required FICO scores. We expect a strong winter and spring for both home sales and construction."

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