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Tag Archives: Census Bureau

September Builder Confidence Falters

The Housing Market Index (HMI), a measure of builder confidence, stalled at 58 in September, unchanged from August’s downwardly revised reading, the National Association of Home Builders reported Tuesday. The August confidence reading had originally been 59. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the index to remain at that level. But a dip in one of the three index components--the outlook for new home sales six months out--pulled the reading down slightly.

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Retail Sales Disappoint With 0.2% August Gain

Americans spent more on cars, furniture, health and beauty aids and at restaurants but were otherwise frugal in August as retail sales went up a disappointing 0.2 percent from July, the Census Bureau reported Friday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.5 percent.

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July Pending Home Sales in Steepest Drop So Far This Year

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) slipped 1.3 percent in July, the steepest decline this year, to 109.5, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists had expected the index for July would drop to 109.8, which would have been a 1.0 percent decline from June's 110.9. The June index was unchanged. NAR economist Lawrence Yun cited higher prices as affecting new contracts. ""Higher mortgage interest rates and rising home prices are impacting monthly contract activity in the high-cost regions of the Northeast and the West,"" Yun offered as an explanation for the drop in the PHSI.

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July New Home Sales Plunge to 9-Month Low

Despite improving builder confidence, sales of new single-family homes dropped to their lowest level since last October, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Friday. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales dropped a stunning 13.4 percent to 394,000 in July. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected June sales to drop to 487,000 from June's originally reported 497,000. June sales were revised to 455,000.

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Single-Family Starts, Permits Drop In July

Led by multifamily activity, new housing permits and starts rose in July with new construction, continuing a shift from single-family homes. The Census Bureau and HUD reported Friday builders broke ground on new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units, up 5.9 percent from June, and filed permits for construction of 943,000 new units, up 2.7 percent from June. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the pace of total starts to increase to 900,000 and total permits to increase to 918,000.

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August Builder Confidence Up; Reaches Record High in Midwest

The National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index (HMI)--a measure of builder confidence--increased again in August, climbing three points to 59, its highest reading since November 2005, the group reported Thursday. The index has improved 15 points (34 percent) in the last three months. At the same time, the index reading for the Midwest rose to a record high (64), and the reading for the South hit the highest level (56) since April 2006. While NAHB's national survey began in January 1985, the regional readings began in December 2004.

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Housing Holds Back Retail Sales

A drop in housing-related retailers slowed retail sales last month. Total retail sales increased 0.2 percent in July, down from June's 0.6 percent increase, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.3 percent. The weaker-than-expected retail sales report decreases the likelihood the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its bond buying monetary stimulus program.

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Payrolls Up 162K in July; Unemployment Rate Down to 7.4 %

The nation's economy added 162,000 jobs in July as the unemployment rate fell to 7.4.percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 175,000 and that the unemployment rate would dip to 7.5 percent. Average weekly hours fell to 34.4, compared with forecasts of 34.5, and average hourly earnings fell two cents. Despite the increase in jobs, the report could have a major negative impact on the broader economy, as it showed more people with jobs but working fewer hours and for less money.

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Weak Household Formation Hampers Housing

The number of households owning homes rose a scant 32,000 in the second quarter, but the homeownership rate remained at 65.0 percent, the lowest level in 18 years, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. At the same time, the Census Bureau data showed the number of new household formations dropped dramatically in the first half of the year, an average of about 500,000 new households per month compared with 1.4 million new households per month in 2012.

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New Home Sales Surge in June as Prices Fall

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales welled 8.3 percent in June to 497,000, according to a report from the Census Bureau and HUD. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected June sales to increase to 484,000 from May's originally reported 476,000. The median price of a new home fell 5.0 percent in June to $249,700, the third time the median price has dropped in the last four months. May's median price was revised down to $262,800 from the originally reported $263,900.

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