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.

New Home Sales Rise But With Underlying Variation

By Michael Neal According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sales of new homes rose by 4.0 percent over the month of March to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000. Year-to-date, covering the first quarter of 2018, the total number of new homes sold is 10.3 percent ahead of its …

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Annual Inflation Accelerates on Monthly Decline

By Michael Neal The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that consumer inflation fell by 0.1 percent over the month of March 2018 following a 0.2 percent increase in February. This is first monthly decrease since May 2017. Energy prices fell by 3 percent over the month as gasoline prices were 4.9 percent lower than their level in February. In contrast, …

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Mortgage Rates Rise

By Michael Neal The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that mortgage contract rates on purchases of newly built homes rose by 11 basis points over the month of February to 4.14 percent, near its last peak level of 4.18 percent established one year ago in February 2017. Over the past year, the average mortgage rate on purchases of newly constructed …

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US Economy Grew Faster Than Previously Estimated

By Michael Neal According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy grew faster in the fourth quarter of 2017 than was originally estimated. The third estimate of GDP growth in the quarter 2.9 percent, was faster than the 2.6 percent “advance” estimate and the 2.5 percent second estimate. It confirms that the economy grew faster than its potential, strongly …

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Fed Raises Key Policy Rate

By Michael Neal As was widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (the FOMC) raised its key interest rate 25 basis points to a range of 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent following its March meeting. The Fed noted that its decision reflected “realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation”, but that the current level of the federal funds rate …

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AD&C Financing Conditions Ease in 2017

By Michael Neal Builders and developers responding to NAHB’s AD&C Financing Survey continue to report easing credit conditions for acquisition, development, and single-family construction loans and the pace of easing quickened. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the overall net tightening index based on the AD&C survey was -15.3, indicating net easing. All major categories of AD&C financing also recorded …

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Mortgage Rates Rise

By Michael Neal The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that contract mortgage rates rose by four basis points to 4.05 percent in January 2018. After falling to 3.93 percent following its February 2017 peak of 4.18 percent, rates on purchases of newly built homes have risen 12 basis points over two months to 4.05 percent. At this level, mortgage …

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Solid Fourth Quarter Economic Growth Confirmed

By Michael Neal In its second estimate, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the nation’s economy, measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), grew by 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis. The second estimate is 0.1 percent point less than the 2.6 percent growth rate recorded in the first …

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