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Economic conditions continue to mirror market reactions to the post-election environment. For example, the 10-year Treasury rate has risen from 1.8% in early November to approximately 2.4% this week. Rates escalated on the prospects of increased growth in a tight labor market. This higher cost of capital has pushed up mortgage rates (30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped from 3.5% to 4.2% in recent months). And rising rates have already had an affect on pending homes sales which decreased 2.5% in November, 0.4% lower than a year ago.
However, it is important to keep in mind that rising rates are the result of improving economic growth prospects. Similar to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, many market measures are showing post-election strength. For example, consumer confidence increased in December to the highest level since 2001. These trends reflect the broader economic challenge for 2017: a delicate balance of improved growth prospects and rising interest rates.
– NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz