Image alt tag


There was a problem contacting the server. Please try after sometime.

Sorry, we are unable to process your request.


We're sorry, but the Insights and Intelligence Tool is temporarily unavailable

If this problem persists, or if you need immediate assistance, please contact Customer Service at 1-888-522-2388.


We're sorry, but the Literature Center checkout function is temporarily unavailable.

If this problem persists, or if you need immediate assistance, please contact Customer Service at 1-888-522-2388.

Tracked Funds

You have 0 funds on your mutual fund watch list.

Begin by selecting funds to create a personalized watch list.

(as of 12/05/2015)

Pending Orders

You have 0 items in your cart.

Subscribe and order forms, fact sheets, presentations, and other documents that can help advisers grow their business.

Reset Your Password

Financial Professionals*

Your password must be a minimum of characters.

Confirmation Message

Your password was successully updated. This page will be refreshed after 3 seconds.



Economic Insights

Recent reports on mortgage lending, loan spreads, and housing-market sentiment suggest that the current recovery has staying power.

Where does the U.S. housing market stand? To answer that question, we looked at a number of recent data reports covering different aspects of this crucial sector of the U.S. economy. One way to assess the health of the sector is by looking at how many mortgages are being granted for home purchases. For-purchase mortgage activity has languished at a level that suggests the housing recovery has stalled.

But the low level of recent activity could be due to delays caused by the succession of major hurricanes that hit the United States, along with a shortage of inventory of new and existing homes for sale. Both would suggest at least a short-term improvement in housing starts, as the market eventually responds to catch up with demand.

Another important gauge is the relative affordability of houses for prospective buyers. While fixed-rate mortgage rates recently have crept up somewhat, the increase has not been enough to deter a significant number of buyers; housing remains very affordable relative to income. For their part, banks appear to be pricing mortgage loans very attractively relative to funding costs.

This development suggests that lenders are competing more aggressively for business, but that demand is weak. This, in turn, is a good signal for buyers and builders, and it hints that banks are devoting more capital to a business they relied on heavily during the boom years of 2001–07, but shunned after the housing bubble burst.

One final indicator comes from a widely followed sentiment report. The University of Michigan survey reveals that the housing market is healthy overall, but that, in a rare crossover, sellers are increasingly optimistic about trading conditions, while buyers have become less enthusiastic.

If it really is more of a seller’s market than usual, it should soon be reflected in increased supply—more starts of newly built houses and more existing homes listed for sale. Along with the other factors we’ve discussed here, that would be one more indication that the current U.S. housing recovery, while not as strong as past rebounds, has staying power.


About The Author


Please confirm your literature shipping address

Please review the address information below and make any necessary changes.

All literature orders will be shipped to the address that you enter below. This information can be edited at any time.

Current Literature Shipping Address

* Required field