Existing home sales declined 10.5% month-over-month in November, and were down 3.8% year-over year, according estimates from the National Association of Realtors. The result, which came amid a strong job market, marked the first year-over-year decline since September 2014. National Association of Home Builders economist Robert Dietz says the decline could be attributed to new mortgage disclosure rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that likely resulted in delays for some sales. Dietz writes,
"Strengthening job creation should continue to promote home building activity in 2016. The residential construction industry – home builders and remodelers – added 23,100 jobs in December after a cycle-high job gain set in November (31,500). These two months followed a period of lackluster employment gains for the sector. The overall construction industry continues to see elevated levels of unfilled jobs, as does the economy as whole.
The combination of lower unemployment, rising unfilled jobs and a declining labor force participation rate suggests wage gains should be expected in 2016. However, if the economy is able to bring in part-time and underemployed workers into the labor force, then those additions may act as a check on wage increases. Nonetheless, builders should be prepared to face higher labor costs in 2016 as labor market conditions tighten."