The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Royal Building Products Remodeling Market Index (RMI) reports that residential remodelers’ sentiment in Q4 2021 increased to a reading of 83 — up four points from the Q4 2020 reading of 79. The increase is a sign, the report says, that reflects the positive sentiment of remodelers for projects of all sizes.
An agreement between The Nanwakolas Council, which represents four First Nations, and Western Forest Products has led to the deferral of old-growth logging in a section of forest north of Campbell River for two years. The deferral includes preservation of 10 square km of forest identified by an old-growth advisory panel as needing protection. Another 15 square km of priority ancient forests were also deferred through other agreements.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported on Thursday (1-20-22) that total existing home sales, which are completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, declined -4.6% in December from November. Sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate at 6.18 million homes. Year-over-year sales are down -7.1% (6.65 million December 2020).
Freddie Mac has released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending January 20, 2022. The PMMS reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.56% with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.45%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.77%.
The U.S. Department of Labor is reporting that an additional 286,000 Americans made their initial filing for unemployment benefits during the week ending on Saturday, January 15, 2022. This is an increase of 55,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level. The 4-week moving average was 231,000 — an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised average.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported on Wednesday (1-19-22) that privately‐owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1,702,000. This is 1.4% above the revised November estimate of 1,678,000 and is 2.5% above the December 2020 rate of 1,661,000. Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 1,172,000. This is -2.3% below the revised November figure of 1,199,000.
U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore announced today (1-19-22) that they will be launching a comprehensive response to the nation’s growing wildfire crisis with a report entitled “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests.” The strategy outlines the need to significantly increase fuels and forest health treatments to address the escalating crisis of wildfire danger that threatens millions of acres and numerous communities across the United States.
Statistics Canada (StatsCan) reported today (1-19-22) that the Canadian Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 3.4% on an annual average basis in 2021. This is the fastest pace since 1991 (+5.6%) and it follows a 0.7% increase in 2020. Excluding energy, the annual average CPI rose 2.4% in 2021 — a faster pace than the 1.3% recorded in 2020 and 2.3% in 2019. While annual average growth was 3.4% in 2021, price growth differed between the first half and second half of the year.
According to a recent study conducted by realtor.com, last year’s cost hikes in the price of new and existing homes for sale eliminated nearly one million renters from the ranks of potential homeowners. The study reports that the income a household needs to pay a mortgage for a median-price home climbed to $ 62,872 in 2021, up from $55,186 in 2020.
Mark Fleming, First American’s chief economist said, “Potential home sales measures what the healthy market level of home sales should be based on economic, demographic, and housing market fundamentals. One of the most consistent drivers of housing market potential over the last year has been new household formation. Millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history, and the bulk of them are aging into their prime home-buying years.”