8/19: EconUpdate by P. Duffy

Builder confidence falls 5 points to 75 in August due to higher costs and supply shortages

Higher construction costs and supply shortages along with rising home prices pushed the NAHB’s builder confidence index to its lowest reading since July 2020, falling five points to 75 in August.  The index gauging current sales conditions fell five points to 81, the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers posted a five-point decline to 60, and the gauge charting sales expectations in the next six months held steady at 81.


Retail sales dip 1.1 percent in July, but still up 15.8 percent year-on-year

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for July 2021 were $617.7 billion, a decrease of 1.1
percent from the previous month, but 15.8 percent above July 2020. Total sales for the May 2021 through July 2021 period were up 20.6 percent from the same period a year ago.


Purchase loan apps fall 1 percent from previous week and 19 percent year-on-year

The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications decreased 3.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 1 percent (and down 19 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 5 percent (and down 8 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.06 percent from 2.99 percent.