YOU Magazine

YOU Magazine

Housing Starts Heat Up

Housing Starts and consumer inflation heated up in January, but Retail Sales and Existing Home Sales stayed on the chilly side.

The Commerce Department reported that January Housing Starts jumped 9.7 percent from December to an annual rate of 1.326 million units. This was the highest level since October 2016 and up 7.3 percent from January 2017. Single-family starts, which account for the largest share of the market, rose 3.7 percent from December while multi-dwelling starts with five or more units surged 19.7 percent. Housing Starts rose in the Northeast, South and West but declined in the Midwest.

Building Permits, a sign of future construction, rose 7.4 percent from December to an annual rate of 1.396 million units. With many buyers facing inventory shortages across much of the country, this strong report regarding new home construction is a welcome sign!

The National Association of REALTORS® reported that January Existing Home Sales declined 3.2 percent from December to an annual rate of 5.38 million units. Sales were down 4.8 percent from a year ago, the largest decline since August 2014. Low inventories of homes for sale were indeed a thorn in the side of would-be buyers with just a 3.4-month supply available at the current sales pace. A 6-month supply is considered healthy.

Retail Sales also disappointed in January, as the Commerce Department reported a 0.3 percent decrease. December's reading was also revised downward to 0 percent from a 0.4 percent increase. The key highlight was that consumer spending wasn't strong in recent months, and this could impact GDP expectations.

Consumer inflation edged higher in January, with an important component jumping to a 12-month high! The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.5 percent in January, just above expectations due to higher gasoline prices, the Labor Department reported. Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3 percent from December. This was the largest increase in a year, boosted by rising rents.

Inflation reduces the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds. This means signs of inflation can hurt Mortgage Bonds and impact the home loan rates tied to them, which is a trend we've seen through much of this year. Stocks have also reacted negatively to hints that inflation was on the rise because inflation brings higher rates and higher rates hurt corporate borrowing. Stocks even entered correction territory in early February, meaning a 10 percent decline from recent highs.

While home loan rates have trended higher this year, they remain historically attractive. If you or anyone you know has questions about home loans, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'd be happy to help.



Standard Mortgage was incorporated in 1925 and acquired by the Bright Family in 1964. Since then, Standard Mortgage has grown from a single office in New Orleans to a company with multiple mortgage offices located throughout the South. At Standard Mortgage, we originate and service mortgage loans secured by single family properties. We have established relationships with credible investors including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and several other capital sources. ...


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Standard Mortgage - NMLS: 44912
701 Poydras Street
Suite 300 Plaza
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139
Phone: (800) 826-5801


 Standard Mortgage Corporation (NMLS #44912), an Equal Housing Lender  is chartered, licensed or registered as a residential mortgage company in Louisiana #RML 496-0; Alabama #4929; Arkansas #10626, Colorado, Florida #MLD502, Mississippi #44912, North Carolina #l-124936, Oklahoma #ML010154, South Carolina #MLS-44912, Tennessee #108900 and Texas #108900. This email is neither an offer nor commitment to extend credit and is for informational purposes only. Any offer is subject to change without notice. Any application for credit must be approved based on current underwriting policies. For more information about Standard Mortgage visit our website at: