Michael Neal

Michael Neal
Michael Neal is a Senior Economist at the National Association of Home Builders based in Washington D.C. In this capacity, Mr. Neal’s research involves monitoring housing finance issues that impact the U.S. housing market. As a housing economist, Mr. Neal has provided expert analysis and commentary on housing to media outlets around the country. Prior to joining NAHB, Michael worked at the Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, the Federal Reserve, the Congressional Budget Office and Goldman Sachs. He holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Morehouse College, an M.P.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Residential Construction Lower on Hurricanes: Trends Remain in Place

By Michael Neal Information released jointly by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau indicates that total housing starts fell by 4.7 percent reflecting a 4.6 percent decline in single-family starts and a 5.1 percent drop in multifamily starts. This release reflects three dynamics, the impact of the recent hurricanes, the continued national trend growth in …

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Gas Prices Drive Overall Inflation

By Michael Neal According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted consumer prices faced by urban consumers (CPI) accelerated over the month of September 2017 reflecting an increase in the rate of gasoline price growth. However, the pace of acceleration slowed over the month reflecting in part a slowdown in the growth of shelter prices. Excluding the more volatile …

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Mortgage Rates on New Home Purchases Remain Low

By Michael Neal The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that contract rates on purchases of newly-built homes rose 7 basis points over the month of August 2017 to 4.01 percent. The average mortgage rate on purchases of newly built homes is 47 basis points above the low touched in October 2017. However, it remains 17 basis points below the recent …

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GDP Growth in Q2 Ticks Up With Third Estimate

By Michael Neal The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third estimate of the nation’s economy for the second quarter of 2017. According to the release, faster economic growth was maintained over the second quarter. The nation’s economy, measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), rose by 3.1 percent over the April to June period. This rate of …

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Implications Of FOMC Normalization Process For Mortgage Rates

By Michael Neal In its statement, the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) left its key interest rate unchanged at a range of 1.0 to 1.25 percent. As signaled in its last statement, the FOMC, beginning in October, will initiate the balance sheet normalization program. The contents of this program are described in the June 2017 Addendum to the Committee’s Policy …

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Inflation Accelerated in August

By Michael Neal The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that its seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index – Urban Consumer (CPI) rose by 0.4 percent over the month of August, a significant acceleration from the 0.1 percent month-over-month increase in July. Prices of energy commodities, gasoline in particular, rose by 6.1 percent over the month after treading flat in July. …

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Declining Mortgage Rates As A Signal Of Future Economic Performance

By Michael Neal Contract rates on mortgages used to purchase newly built homes fell by 9 basis points over the month of July 2017. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, contract rates settled at 3.94 percent in July. In June, contract rates were 4.03 percent. After rising to 4.18 percent in February 2017, an increase of 64 basis points …

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AD&C Financing Conditions Ease, But At A Slower Pace

By Michael Neal Builders and developers responding to NAHB’s AD&C Financing Survey continue to report easing credit conditions for acquisitions, development, and single-family construction loans. In the second quarter of 2017, the overall net tightening index based on the AD&C survey was -10.7, indicating net easing. All major categories of AD&C financing also recorded net easing, but land acquisition and …

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