The third quarter of 2014 ended on a high note, as the final reading for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) soared to 5 percent, led by stronger consumer and business spending. The 5 percent reading was the fastest pace for economic growth in the United States since the third quarter of 2003. GDP is the value of the production of goods and services in the U.S., adjusted for price changes, and it is considered the broadest measure of economic activity. The strong reading is a good sign for our economy heading into 2015.
After a strong fall quarter, the housing sector began to slow approaching the New Year. November Housing Starts fell by 1.6 percent from October, and single-family residential starts fell 5.4 percent, while the volatile multi-family (apartments and condominiums) segment rose. Building Permits, as well as New and Existing Home Sales also fell in November.
Despite these decreases, the housing sector has been improving overall primarily due to wage and job growth. A strong December Jobs Report also raised hopes of kicking off 2015 with a bang. The Labor Department reported employers added 321,000 jobs in November, the highest since January 2012. Unemployment stood unchanged from October at 5.8 percent, but lower from the 7 percent reading posted a year ago.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that wage growth is accelerating. Taken together these are good signs for economic growth in 2015, which should help the housing sector reclaim a positive trend.
Home loan rates continue to remain near historic lows, so it’s a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.