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The Week Ahead: Will Affordability Remain a Concern?

All eyes have been on fluctuating home prices and affordability, and the index for the month of December showed an increase in existing-home sale prices, but a decrease in housing inventory.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $232,200, up 4.0 percent from December 2015 ($223,200). December's price increase marked the 58th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 10.8 percent to 1.65 million existing homes available for sale, which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory is 6.3 percent lower than it was in 2015 (1.76 million), has fallen year-over-year for 19 straight months and is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (3.9 months in December 2015).

"Housing affordability for both buying and renting remains a pressing concern because of another year of insufficient home construction," said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors. "Given current population and economic growth trends, housing starts should be in the range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million completions and not stuck at recessionary levels. More needs to be done to address the regulatory and cost burdens preventing builders from ramping up production."

Will change be on the horizon for existing home sales and inventory in NAR’s next report? Find out when the report featuring January data releases on Wednesday, February 22.

University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers

According to the Surveys of Consumers released by the University of Michigan on February 10, consumer sentiment was at 95.7. The numbers showed a slight decrease from last month when consumer sentiments hit 98.5, the highest its been in 13 years.

“To be sure, confidence remains quite favorable, with only five higher readings in the past decade,” said Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist. “Importantly, the data do not reflect any closing of the partisan divide.”

Will consumer sentiment remain on the decline or start to rise heading into March? The next Surveys of Consumers index is scheduled to release on Friday, February 24.

This Week’s Schedule

Monday, February 20

President’s Day, Markets Closed

Wednesday February 22

Existing Home Sales, 10 a.m. ET

FOMC Minutes, 2 p.m. ET

Thursday, February 23

FHFA House Price Index, 9 a.m.ET

Friday, February 24

New Home Sales, 10 a.m. ET

About Author: Mirasha Brown

Mirasha Brown is a graduate of Florida A&M University and is pursuing a masters degree at Syracuse University. Born and raised in Florida, she has contributed to public relations and marketing campaigns for Rent The Runway and Billboard. She is a communications specialist with The Five Star and a contributing writer to DS News and MReport.
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