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As generally expected, there will be no increase to the federal funds rate this September. However, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled in Wednesday’s FOMC meeting announcement that, thanks to accelerating growth in the second half of the year, a rate increase before the year’s end is possible and even likely.
Housing starts and permits fell in August by a sharp 5.4%, with most of the weakness coming from the multi-family segment. The Y/Y rate for multi-family permits is now negative, although the Y/Y rate for multi-family starts remains positive at 4.7%, despite the August dip. Permit growth for single-family homes, a major component of housing demand, was a bright spot—the number of single-family permits rose a solid 3.7% for the month.
The existing home sales report for August showed a 0.9% monthly drop to 5.33M annualized rate, just a notch over where the rate was last year at this time. Prices are soft, with the median price down M/M 1.3% to $240,200, which may be keeping some potential sellers out of the market. The weakness in the resale market is fairly evenly distributed throughout the country, with the South seeing slightly more resales than other regions.
Upcoming Economic Reports:
Mon September 26 — New Home Sales (indicator of economic momentum)
Thurs September 29 — GDP (primary indicator of economic growth)
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