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.

Consumer Credit Balances, Debt Service Ratio Climb

By Michael Neal According to the Federal Reserve Board’s G.19 Consumer Credit report, the total amount of consumer credit outstanding rose by 5.2 percent (SAAR) over the 1st quarter of 2017, 2.4 percentage points less than the 6.6 percent rate of growth in the 4th quarter of 2016. Consumer credit outstanding now totals $3.8 trillion. After declining on a quarterly …

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Nationwide Recovery Continues

By Michael Neal For the country as a whole, the NAHB/First American Leadings Markets Index (LMI), released today, rose .01 point over the quarter to 1.0. Over the past year, the LMI grew by .05 point. The index uses single-family housing permits, employment, and home prices to measure proximity to a normal economic and housing market. The index is calculated …

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Rates Tick Down in March

By Michael Neal Following 4 consecutive monthly increases, results from the Mortgage Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicate that mortgage rates fell in March 2017*. Over the month, contract rates on mortgages used to purchase single-family newly constructed homes declined by 6 basis points to 4.12 percent. Despite the decline, rates remain above …

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USDA Single Family Programs: Trends in Loans for Newly Constructed Homes

By Michael Neal A recent NAHB study tracks trends in loans for new construction obligated under the USDA Single-family programs, the Section 502 Direct Loan Program and the Section 502 Guaranteed Loan Program. The report finds that, similar to the Federal Housing Administration’s single-family loan program, the USDA programs supported homeownership at a time when obtaining a conventional loan became …

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The Distribution of Residential Construction Loans Among Banks

By Michael Neal Smaller banks, those with assets of less than $10 billion, hold the majority of residential construction loans, according to NAHB analysis of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) data. Unlike mortgages, a larger proportion of residential construction loans at FDIC-insured institutions are held by banks with assets between $100 million and $10 billion. In addition, a greater proportion …

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Non-Mortgage Consumer Debt Accelerates

By Michael Neal The total amount of consumer credit outstanding rose in February 2017 reflecting growth in both non-revolving credit, auto loans and student loans, and revolving credit, mostly credit cards. However, the growth rate of non-revolving credit, which is the larger of the two classes, exceeded the percentage increase of revolving credit. According to the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer …

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Leverage Ratios Rise in 2016

By Michael Neal Information provided by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicates that the loan amount relative to the purchase price of the home, leverage or the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, rose in 2016 to 79.2 percent, 140 basis points above the rate in 2015, 77.8 percent*/**. The increase over 2016 largely reflected growth in the LTV ratio on purchases …

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Mortgage Rates Rise in February

By Michael Neal Results from the Mortgage Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) administered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicate that mortgage rates rose in February 2017*. Over the month, contract rates on mortgages used to purchase single-family newly constructed homes increased by 16 basis points to 4.18 percent. Since reaching a low of 3.54 percent in October 2016, contract …

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