The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) released their monthly Market Index reflecting the sentiment of their members. Above 50 means that more members than not are optimistic.

Note that homebuilder optimism has been above 50 (for the most part) since June 2013. Homebuilders can thank The Fed for insanely low borrowing costs that greatly improved their mood.  Builders can build single family detached houses and/or 5+ unit multifamily, so super low interest rates improve every builders’ mood. So the decline in the number of subprime borrowers getting mortgage originations is good news for multifamily builders but not so good for detached housing.

But for existing homeowners, candidates for refinancing are far fewer than they were even in 2016, according to Black Knight.

This helps explain the declining residential loan origination trend for both purchase and refis.

Inventories of existing homes are scarce and getting scarcer by the month. This helps drive up home prices, not good for folks currently renting and wanting to buy.

 

Tight inventory, interest rate increases, declining mortgage refis.  Well, at least mortgage purchase applications are back to 1997 levels.

Yellen: I honestly thought that mortgage applications and refis would be higher given the trillions of dollars of stimulus we threw at it.