Weekly Economic Report 03.04.19

KEY MARKET INDICATORS as of Mar 04, 2019

GDP (Q4), Housing Starts, FHFA Home Price Index, Homeownership Rate

GDP: Sequentially, GDP grew by 2.6% (annualized) in Q4. But the 3.1% y/y growth rate shows that the economy continued to grow faster than expected.

Housing Starts: Homebuilders reduced the number of new homes started in December in response to weaker demand. Total housing starts decreased 11.2% to 1.078 million units (seasonally adjusted annual rate), the lowest level since September 2016. The single-family segment reported 758,000 new units, also the lowest in over two years. The West and the Midwest saw the biggest declines in December and Q4, reporting y/y declines of around 30%.

FHFA Home Price Index: The slowdown in the housing market in the second half of 2018 has also resulted in a slower growth in home prices. In December, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Purchase-Only Index showed that home prices grew by 5.6%, the slowest pace of growth since early 2016. Home price growth has slowed by around 2 percentage points over the past 12 months.

Homeownership Rate: The slowdown in the housing market has not affected the trend toward owning. Overall homeownership rate reached 64.8%, the highest level in nearly five years. Higher homeownership rate among younger households has been the main driver for this recovery, as both the under-35 (36.5%) and the 35-44 (61.1%) age groups reported higher homeownership rates compared to a year ago.

Tian Liu, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Chief Economist
919 807.9584

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Disclaimer: Opinions, estimates and projections in this report constitute the current judgment of the author as of the date of this report. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Genworth Mortgage Insurance and are subject to change without notice. Genworth Mortgage Insurance has no obligation to provide revised assessments and assumes no duty to update information in the event of changed circumstances. While we have gathered this information from sources believed to be reliable, Genworth Mortgage Insurance cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Certain data discussed in this report is publicly available only on a time delayed basis. Genworth Mortgage Insurance strives to analyze data as it becomes available, but makes no representation that all data is reviewed immediately upon release. 

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