America’s 10 largest publicly traded home builders have started to improve their policies and practices relating to the environment and resources, but much progress remains to be achieved, according to a new study by Calvert Investments, a sustainable and responsible investment firm. KB Home and Pulte ranked at the top of Calvert’s list, while Meritage Homes, Toll Brothers, and Standard Pacific all improved against Calvert’s previous ranking. DR Horton and Ryland Group lost ground.
The Pending Home Sales Index rose to 89.3 in October, a 10.4 percent gain over the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index, which is based on contracts during October, remained 20.5 percent lower than in October 2009, when the deadline for the homebuyers tax credit caused a surge.
Consumer confidence in the U.S. increased in November, rising to its highest level in five months. The Conference Board’s sentiment index rose to 54.1, exceeding estimates by a Bloomberg survey of economists that it would increase to 53. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management’s business gauge rose to it highest since April, indicating that business activity also is increasing.
The U.S. housing industry is likely to see increased demand for rental properties, according to the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, which collected data from 3,417 households. For the first time in the survey’s history, delinquent borrowers are more likely to say that they would rent their next home instead of buying.
The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price indexes showed that home prices went down between August and September, and that third quarter prices also were down, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The indexes also indicated that the rate of decline may be accelerating.
A survey by Fannie Mae showed that Americans' confidence in the housing market dropped during the third quarter of 2010. The survey, which polled 3,417 households in July, August, and September, indicated that 85 percent think it is a bad time to sell a home, two percent higher than in June. Sixty-eight percent think it's a good time to buy a home, down two percent from June.
The number of homes listed for sale declined in October, the first time that has happened in nine months, The Wall Street Journal reported. In 26 major U.S. markets, the housing supply fell by an average of 3.3 percent. Inventories usually increase in October as sellers try to make one final push before the winter downturn.
For the seventh straight quarter, housing affordability hovered around its highest level in decades, HousingPredictor.com reported. In the third quarter, 71.1 percent of all homes sold were affordable for families earning the median income of $64,400. The record high was set in the first quarter of 2009, when it hit 72.5 percent.
More than 7 million mortgages in the United States are either at least 30 days past due or in the process of foreclosure, according to Lender Processing Service. Although the delinquency rate essentially remained the same, foreclosures are on the rise.
The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today that new single-family home sales October were down 8.1 percent, to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 283,000, from the previous month. This rate was 28.5 percent lower than October 2009, which boasted 396,000 sales.