1. From today's report on builder confidence from the NAHB:
"Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes
improved for a fourth consecutive month in August with a two-point gain
to 37 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing
Market Index (HMI). This gain builds on a six-point
increase in July and brings the index to its highest level since
February of 2007 (see chart above)."
“From the builder’s perspective, current sales
conditions, sales prospects for the next six months and traffic of
prospective buyers are all better than they have been in more than five
years,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of
Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “While
there is still much room for improvement, we have come a long way from
the depths of the recession and the outlook appears to be brightening.”
2. The bottom chart above compares the performance of the S&P Homebuilders Index
(based on stocks that reflect homebuilding activity including Pulte Group, Toll Brothers, Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators, Masco, Owens Corning, etc.) over the last year to the S&P 500 Index. Since August of last year, the S&P Homebuilders Index has increased by 71%, almost three times the 25% increase in the S&P 500 Index over that period. The S&P Homebuilders Index has reached levels this week that have not been seen since April 2008, more than four years ago.
3. "Southern California home sales rose above the year-ago level for the
seventh consecutive month in July despite continued declines in low-end
distress sales. Increased activity in move-up and high-end submarkets
also contributed to a significant rise in the region’s median sale
price, which neared a four-year high. The median price paid for a home in the six-county Southland
rose to $306,000 last month, up 2.0 percent from $300,000 in June and
up 8.1 percent from $283,000 in July 2011.
July’s median was the highest since the median was $308,500
in September 2008. The median has risen month-to-month for six
consecutive months and has increased year-over-year for the past four.
July’s 8.1 percent annual gain was the highest for any month since July
2010, when the median rose 10.1 percent.
Greater demand, partially triggered by historically low
mortgage rates, and a thinner inventory of homes for sale help explain
recent gains in the median price. But the increases also stem from a
sharp drop in foreclosure resales, which often sell at a steep discount
and are concentrated in lower-cost areas, as well as a substantial
increase in the portion of sales in mid- to high-end neighborhoods."
4. "Home sales in the Bay Area rose on a year-over-year basis for the
13th month in a row in July, the result of increased mid- and up-market
buying activity. The median price paid for a home was the highest in almost four years.
A total of 8,461 new and resale homes were sold in the
nine-county Bay Area last month. That was down 1.4 percent from 8,577
the month before, and up 22.9 percent from 6,887 for July 2011. The median price paid for all new and resale houses and
condos sold in the Bay Area last month was $421,000. That was up 1.0
percent from $417,000 in June, and up 12.6 percent from $374,000 in July
2011. Last month’s median was the highest since it was $447,000 in
MP: Evidence continues to accumulate that we've moved past the bottom of the real estate market this year, and have entered a new period of recovery characterized by ongoing increases in both home sales and median prices, rising builder confidence, and strong gains in the S&P Homebuilder Index.