Home price gains eased a bit in July and have begun to slow after the big gains seen in the past few years. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index rose 5.9% from July 2017 to July 2018, down from the 6.4% year-over-year gain seen in June. On a monthly basis, prices were up just 0.1% from June. "Rising homes prices are beginning to catch up with housing," said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Year-over-year gains and monthly seasonally adjusted increases both slowed in July for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index and the 10- and 20-City Composite indices."
Americans across the nation expressed high praises for the strengthening U.S.economy in September while saying there are plenty of available jobs. The Conference Board reported that the Consumer Confidence Index hit 138.4 this month, the highest since September 2000 and just below the all-time high of 144.7 hit in May of the same year. Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board says, "These historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending and should be welcome news for retailers as they begin gearing up for the holiday season.”
Freddie Mac released its Economic & Housing Research report for September showing that economic growth quickened in the second quarter. Second quarter Gross Domestic Product rose 4.2%, the fastest pace in almost four years due in part to an uptick in consumer spending. On the housing front, Freddie expects total home sales to decline 0.9% to 6.07 million in 2018, before increasing 1.8% to 6.18 million in 2019. Housing starts are now forecast to rise 7.5% this year and 4.7% in 2019. Mortgage rates are forecasted to average 4.50% this year and 5.1% in 2019.