|Housing Remains Sluggish, But Positive Signs Are Emerging|
Housing and the economy remained sluggish and most economic data released during the past few weeks have been disappointing.
Existing home sales were down again in May, and the NAHB Housing Market Index fell in June to a nine-month low. Inflation, as measured by the producer and consumer prices indexes, also continued to rise.
But some bright spots are beginning to emerge. House prices ended a 10-month slide as the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index ticked up in April. And while housing starts continue to “bounce along the bottom,” they rose in May, recovering half of the previous month’s decline. In addition, oil prices, which peaked in April, have settled back down by almost 15%, relieving some inflationary pressure.
Though some have suggested that housing has fallen out of favor with the American public and Washington is targeting housing on a number of fronts — the expiration of the GSE and FHA loan limits, scaling back the mortgage interest deduction, etc. — a new poll commissioned by NAHB suggests otherwise. The results indicate that homeownership remains a priority for most Americans.