Last week's economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices along with data on new and pending home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims were also released.
The recent total devastation of the Bahamas by hurricane Dorian reinforced the need for hurricane-proof homes in areas that are subject to this risk. Building codes have not kept up with the increasing severity of the weather.
Case-Shiller's National Home Price Index reported U.S. home prices grew by 3.20 percent year-over-year in July; as compared to year-over-year home price growth 0f 3.00 percent posted in June. Cities with the highest rates of year-over-year home price growth were Phoenix, Arizona with 5.80 percent year-over-year home price growth. Las Vegas, Nevada had 4.70 percent year-over-year home price appreciation and Charlotte, North Caroline bumped Tampa, Florida from the top three cities with home price appreciation of 4.60 percent. Tampa, Florida posted 4.50 percent year-over-year home price growth in July.
When you're in the market for a new home to buy, your real estate agent will likely invite you to ride along with them to view homes. This is a convenient courtesy, but you may want to reconsider. Your other option is to follow the real estate agent in your own car instead.
Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage investors with capital gains on other investments to invest that money in low-income and undercapitalized communities. They get a reward of deferring capital gains tax. They avoid a portion of it altogether if they keep the investment for five years or longer.
Last week's economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, Commerce Department reports on Housing starts and building permits issued and the National Association of Realtors(R) report on sales of previously owned homes.
Crowdfunding came into prominence with the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that President Obama signed into law during 2012 and subsequent enhancements. The JOBS Act made it easier for startups to raise money and for the first time allowed the legal ability to advertise the investments and accept small investors.
The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee reduced its key short-term interest rate range one-quarter percent to 1.75 to 2.00 percent during it's September meeting. While FOMC members had mixed opinions on reducing the benchmark rate range for short term loans, the post-meeting statement suggested that reducing the federal funds rate was a hedge against inflation. The federal funds rate impacts short-term consumer loan rates for autos and adjustable rate mortgages, but does not impact fixed mortgage rates. FOMC monetary policy decisions are governed by the Federal Reserve's dual mandate of maintaining price stability and an inflation rate of 2.00 percent.
Residential real estate developers in America are responding to a national slowdown in new home construction by building smaller homes that are more modestly priced. The demand for smaller, less expensive homes is growing, while the overall demand for new custom homes is declining. Prices decreased slightly, by about one-half percent, from the price levels in 2018 for newly-constructed homes.
Last week's economic news included readings on inflation, core inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.