Home builder confidence remained steady in early March due in part to lower price points along with increased affordability of affordably priced homes. The National Association of Home Builders reports that its Housing Market Index came in at 62 versus 63 expected and matched the 62 reading in February. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. “Builders report the market is stabilizing following the slowdown at the end of 2018 and they anticipate a solid spring home buying season,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, CT.
Freddie Mac recently released data on the current state of U.S. household real estate worth. As of the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, U.S. households owned real estate worth over $25 trillion and have mortgage debt of just under $10 trillion for over $15 trillion in net homeowner equity. In the fourth quarter of 2018, an estimated $14,8 billion in net home equity was cashed out during the refinance of conventional prime-credit home mortgages, down from $20.4 billion a year earlier and way below the $104.8 billion during the second quarter of 2006.
The members of the Federal Reserve will convene on Tuesday to discuss the current state of the US economy and monetary policy with the statement being released at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. At 2:30, Fed Chair Powell will hold a press conference. There is a zero percent chance of a hike to the Fed Funds Rate but what the statement reads and what Powell says, could impact the markets.