March Market Pulse

Commentary and Data Supplied by Bernard Markstein, Director of Forecasting, National Association of Home Builders Economics Interest Rates: Over the last six months, increasing weakness in the overall economy has resulted in consistently lower rates for each of these three indexes.Building Materials: While overall construction materials prices have been rising at a moderate pace, there is a pattern of declining prices in softwood lumber, plywood and gypsum.Apartment Starts: Starts remain at relatively low levels, as apartment developers wait for land prices to drop far enough to make the numbers work.Rent Changes: The recent rise in the Consumer Price Index will give the Fed pause when considering future rate cuts. Meanwhile, rents continue to rise at a steady pace. Until recently, this rate has exceeded the general rate of inflation.Existing Condos/Co-ops Median Sales Prices: Is a bump in condo sales prices the beginning of stabilization in that segment? Or is it an anomaly that will turn back down next month? Stay tuned.Sources for Starts; Rent Changes: National Association of Home Builders. Source for Median Sales Prices: National Association of Realtors.To comment, contact Keat Foong at kfoong@multi-housingnews.com