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Tag Archives: Census Bureau

Autos Boost May Retail Sales

Driven by stronger auto sales but held back by falling gasoline sales, total retail sales increased 0.6 percent in May, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.5 percent. In April, retail sales rose 0.1 percent.

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Pending Home Sales Edge Up in April

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose a disappointing 0.3 percent to 106.0 in April, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Thursday. Both the new homes sales and the pending home sales reports measure contract signings and are designed to be forward looking indicators. With the month-over-month improvement, the PHSI is 10.3 percent above April 2012, the strongest year-over-year gain since October when the PHSI was up 12.1 percent from a year earlier. The index has improved month-over-month in three of the last four months.

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Commentary: Housing Recovery? Hold the Champagne

Recent reports from the National Association of Realtors and the Census Bureau/HUD showed sharp increases in unit sales and prices, as well as increases in the inventory of homes for sale for April. Has housing turned the corner? Look again. Sales up, prices up, what's wrong with this picture? The last time both prices and sales of new homes increased in the same month was last September. In all of 2012, sales and prices moved in opposite directions in seven of the 12 months. What of course is missing from the two data sets is any indication of demand.

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New Home Price Hits Record High in April

The price of a new single-family home soared to a record high in April as sales jumped 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Thursday. The median price of a new home, according to the Census/HUD report, soared $20,900 (8.3 percent) in April to $271,600, the highest price on record. The inventory of homes available for sale rose to 155,000--the highest level since November 2011--translating to a 3.5 month supply, matching March for a record low.

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Housing Starts Drop Despite Improved Builder Confidence

In sharp contrast to reports of improving builder confidence, housing starts plunged at the steepest rate in more than two years in April, falling to a five-month low even as housing permits surged, the Census Bureau and HUD reported jointly Thursday. The 16.5 percent month-to-month drop in starts to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 853,000 caught economists by surprise. The consensus forecast had been starts would fall--but to 969,000 from March's originally reported 1,036,000.

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Builder Confidence Shows First 2013 Gain

Despite still sluggish new home sales, builder confidence improved in May for the first time since December, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Wednesday. All three components of the HMI improved in May. The reading on current home sales increased four points to 48 from 44 (revised from the initially reported 45), the outlook for sales in the next six months rose to 53 from 52 (revised down from April's reading of 53), and the measure of buyer traffic rose to 33 from April's unrevised 30.

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Autos Boost April Retail Sales; Retail Space Under Siege

Driven by stronger auto sales but held back by falling gasoline prices, total retail sales increased an unexpected 0.1 percent in April Census Bureau reported Monday. Economists had expected sales to fall 0.3 percent. In March, retail sales fell a revised 0.

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Commentary: Seven Little Words

""Fiscal policy,"" simply put, is the means by which a government adjusts its levels of spending in order to monitor and influence a nation's economy. At the heart of the spending/growth disparity is a philosophical debate over the role of government: those who believe government should be run like a business and avoid debt and those who see the role of government as spending counter-cyclically, that is increasing spending when the nation's economy is challenged to avoid further struggles. direct a country's economic goals.

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Commentary: Driving With No Speedometer

Imagine if someone removed the speedometer from your car and then put limits on how fast or slow you could drive. That's what 11 House members are doing with legislation which would prohibit the Census Bureau from any data collection except for the decennial headcount of Americans. The impact of the bill HR 1638 would be to eviscerate and effectively eliminate the monthly employment situation report that produces, among other things, the unemployment rate as well as a host of other bits of data about the economy. The sponsors of the bill must believe that if we don't count unemployment it won't exist.

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Homeownership Rate Drops to 18-Year Low

The number of households owning homes fell 698,000 to 74,511,000 in the first quarter, the first decline in almost two years, according to a Census Bureau report Tuesday. At the same time, the nation's homeownership rate fell to 65 percent (seasonally adjusted), the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 1995. The Census data paints a grim picture for the home sales market, which has already been struggling against mortgage restrictions and weak inventory.

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