Homebuilder stocks were rising Friday afternoon, an apparent rebound from a big decline Thursday, and in the past five days as well.
This year has been a rough one for homebuilders, with the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF down 23.2% year-to-date. Thursday, the ETF fell 2% by midday, a big drop for an ETF. This came after Jerome Powell's comments Wednesday evening on the path of Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes. While he sounded slightly more measured in his remarks, he remained fairly hawkish. Higher rates usually hurt home sales.
Friday saw a rebound for most stocks in the group.
The home construction business has faced headwind after headwind in 2018. The tariffs on lumber have put pressure on housing construction costs, which have been passed down to the American home buyer. Lumber tariffs have added about $9,000 to the average price of a single family house in the U.S., according to the National Association of Home Builders. Rising interest rates are another headwind. Low sales volumes have also been an impediment to revenue growth for home construction companies this year. One of the reasons the volumes have been low is that the baby boomer generation, which holds a high percentage of homes in the country compared to other demographics, has held back from selling homes, Deutsche Bank Senior Economist Brett Ryan told TheStreet.
Home prices have also come down of late, which LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze told TheStreet is a good thing. "This is the perfect time for housing to take a breather -- let's let wages and income catch up a little bit," Kapfidze said.