KEY MARKET INDICATORS as of Apr 18, 2017
March Housing Starts, Q1 Mortgage Origination
Housing Starts – Housing starts slowed in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million units, a 7% decrease from February. February was one of the strongest months for housing starts since 2007, so some pullback was to be expected. The year-over-year comparison remains favorable, with total housing starts up 9% for March and up 8% for Q1. Single-family housing starts were down 6% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 821,000 units. Compared to a year ago, single-family housing starts were up 11% in March and up 6% for Q1. Regionally, the Midwest and the West reported bigger pullbacks in March from February.
Q1 Mortgage Origination – Major mortgage lenders reported their Q1 mortgage origination volume in the past week. Compared to Q4, origination volume showed declines of 23% to 39%. These results are consistent with or slightly better than what we had expected for the total mortgage origination market. The two main drivers for the mortgage origination market in Q1 are lower refinance volume due to higher interest rates and lower purchase volume due to seasonality. We believe that purchase origination market remains healthy, and will make up a bigger piece of the mortgage market this year.
*FHFA Purchase-Only Home Price Index