Why Trump Steel Tariff Won’t Hurt Housing

Posted on March 13, 2018 in Uncategorized | Add Your Voice
Why Trump Steel Tariff Won’t Hurt Housing
The Trump administration’s new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum may raise prices on a variety of consumer and commercial products, but will only put minimal strain on the housing industry.

The 25% tariff on steel and the 10% tariff on aluminum are more likely to be a concern for commercial and multifamily construction than the single-family sector, said Tim Rood, managing director at Situs and chairman of The Collingwood Group.

“I think for single-family, imported steel and aluminum are going to contribute a small percentage to the construction cost of a new home, but when you talk about multifamily and commercial construction, it’s higher,” said Rood.

But while the American Iron and Steel Institute estimates 43% of steel imports go to the construction industry, very little of it is used in residential construction. Steel frames accounted for less than 0.5% of new single-family houses and about 4% of multifamily buildings, according to Census Bureau estimates.

read more: National Mortgage News

Mortgage Rates at a Four-Year High Threaten to Roil Housing
U.S. mortgage rates have hit their highest level since 2014, a new challenge for a housing market that has been central to the economic recovery but remains vulnerable to even modest headwinds.

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.46%, the highest in more than four years and the ninth consecutive week of increases, according to data Thursday from mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac. At the start of the year, the average rate was 3.95%.

If the trend persists, it could hamper a sector that represents about 15% of U.S. gross-domestic product. Rising mortgage rates already have crimped refinancing activity and pushed would-be home buyers who are on the margins out of the market as home prices also have risen.

read more: WSJ

Spring Home Sales May Be Weakest in Years
The housing market may be dampened during the key spring selling season because of rising mortgage rates, less incentive for homeownership and weariness among first-buyers being priced out of the market.

About 40% of the year’s sales take place from March through June, according to the National Association of Realtors, as buyers look to sign a contract on a home before summer vacations and the new school year.

Lackluster sales volumes may put downward pressure on the price growth seen in the past few years, The Wall Street Journal reported. Buyers that can handle rising interest rates may find some opportunities to get a deal, while sellers in more expensive markets may be reluctant to sell.

“It’s still going to be a tight market, but we’re moving from an extremely tight market to one that has some wiggle room around the edges for buyers,” Daren Blomquist, a senior vice president at the housing-research firm Attom Data Solutions, told the newspaper.

read more: Newsmax

11 Countries Sign Pacific Trade Deal as President Trump Announces Tariffs
Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries signed a sweeping free trade agreement Thursday to streamline trade and slash tariffs just hours before President Donald Trump announced his plans to impose new tariffs on aluminum and steel to protect U.S. producers.

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year, causing fears that it would not prosper without its most influential country. But the remaining 11 members pressed ahead, saying they were showing resolve against protectionism through global trade.

The ministers dropped key provisions that the Americans had required on protection of intellectual property, among others. The renegotiated pact signed in Chile’s capital was also renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP.

“Despite the diverse and difficult challenges, the CPTPP is a historic achievement that creates free and fair 21st century rules in the Asia-Pacific region,” Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said a news conference after the signing of the deal.

read more: TIME

U.S. Household Net Worth Pushes Further Into Record Territory
Americans’ wealth pushed further into record territory in the final quarter of last year, hitting nearly $100 trillion thanks to rising stock markets and property prices.

Household net worth—the value of all assets such as stocks and real estate minus liabilities like mortgage and credit-card debt—rose more than $2 trillion last quarter to a record $98.746 trillion.

read more: WSJ

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Cecilia Panozzo
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