Residential construction spending has steadily increased over the last 8 months, with November reaching 0.4 percent. Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics said, “this is a volatile series month to month, the recent surge in housing starts suggests that residential construction spending will expand at a fairly rapid pace this year.” While residential construction continues to grow, commercial projects are decreasing approximately 0.7 percent., Ashworth also stated “the decline in construction spending was nothing too much to worry about.” More here
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Second Quarter Residential Vacancy and Homeownership report shows little movement in either the vacancy rate for homeowner housing or the national homeownership rate. But, according to their estimates, the numbers are moving in the right direction. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.1 percent, which is 0.4 percent lower than last year and 0.1 percent below the previous quarter. The vacancy rate has now fallen in each of the past six quarters. The homeownership rate, on the other hand, has been relatively flat and is now at 65.5 percent, up just 0.1 percent from the previous quarter and 0.4 percent lower than the same quarter last year. But Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, writes that U.S. Postal Service data offers a more accurate picture of the number of occupied housing units based on addresses that are or are not receiving mail. According to those numbers, the number of occupied homes rose by nearly 1,000,000 last year, a 5.0 percent drop in the number of vacant houses nationally. More here and here.
Construction of new homes and apartments rose 6.9 percent in June, reaching the highest level since October 2008. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New Residential Construction Report shows privately-owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000. The increase put total housing starts 23.6 percent above last year’s level. Building permits, which are an indicator of future construction, fell 3.7 percent in June but remain 19.3 percent above 2011. The drop in permits was largely due to a decrease in multifamily permits. Single-family authorizations were virtually unchanged from the month before at a rate of 493,000, 0.6 percent above May’s figure of 490,000. More here and here.
According to Freddie Mac’s most recent U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook, first-quarter economic data contains many encouraging signs for the general economy and housing market. Early estimates say the economy grew at 2.2 percent during the first quarter, which is slower than the previous quarter but an improvement over three of the past four quarters. Residential fixed investment, which reflects new housing construction and remodeling expenses, has grown in each of the past four quarters. Also, home prices have bottomed in many markets and, along with the lowest mortgage rates in more than 60 years, contribute to extraordinary affordability conditions for buyers. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist, said the first-quarter data is not uniformly positive but shows the macroeconomy and housing recovery are headed in the right direction. More here and here.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce released their New Residential Sales report for April. According to the report, sales of new single-family homes rose 3.3 percent over March’s revised rate and are 9.9 percent above year-before levels. The gains put new-home sales at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 343,000, up from March’s revised rate of 332,000. The median sales price of new homes sold in April was $235,700; the average was $282,600. At the current sales pace, there was a 5.1-month supply of new homes available for sale at the end of the month. More here and here.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New Residential Sales Report for March 2012 shows that sales of new single-family homes are up 7.5 percent over the previous year’s pace. According to the report, new home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000, which is 7.1 percent below February’s revised rate of 353,000 but a significant improvement over last March’s estimate of 305,000. February’s estimate was revised up from an originally reported 313,000, making that month’s sales pace the fastest since November 2009. Also, the median sales price of new houses sold during the month was $234,500; the average sales price was $291,200. At the current sales pace, there was a 5.3 month supply of new homes available for sale at the end of March. More here.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New Residential Construction report for March shows permits to build privately-owned housing units rose 4.5 percent in March. Permits were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 747,000, which is 30.1 percent above last March’s estimate. But though permits were up for the month, housing starts fell 5.8 percent from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000. Still, new residential construction is 10.3 percent above last year’s level and single-family housing starts were down just 0.2 percent for the month, which indicates the decline was due largely to a drop in multifamily construction. Also in the report, housing completions rose 4.2 percent in March. More here.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Commerce’s New Residential Sales Report for February shows sales of new homes fell 1.6 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000. But though sales slipped from the month before, year-over-year sales were up 11.4 percent. Also in the report, the median price of new houses sold in February was $233,700. That’s 8.3 percent above January and the highest it’s been since last June. Compared to February 2011, the median price was up 6.2 percent. The estimated number of new homes for sale at the end of the month was 150,000, which represents a 5.8-month supply at the current sales pace. More here.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New Residential Sales report for January shows sales of new single-family homes were 0.9 below December’s upwardly revised annual rate of 324,000. The revision to December’s rate, previously reported to be 307,000, put that month’s sales pace at a year-long high. And, despite slipping from last month, January’s sales pace exceeded economists’ expectations and were 3.5 percent above last year. The median sales price of new houses sold in January was $217,000, up from $210,300 in December. At the end of the month, there was a 5.6-month supply of new homes for sale at the current sales pace. More here.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau’s New Residential Sales report for December shows new home sales slowed after three consecutive months of gains. According to the report, sales of new single-family houses were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000 units, which is 2.2 percent below November’s rate of 314,000. The Census Bureau estimates there were 302,000 new homes sold in 2011. December’s median sales price was $210,300; the average price was $266,000. There were 157,000 new homes for sale at the end of the month, which is a 6.1-month supply at the current sales rate. More here.