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Tag Archives: Census Bureau

Pending Home Sales Index Up For March

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 1.5 percent to 105.7 in March, the highest level in almost three years, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. Economists had expected a 0.7 percent increase to 105.5 from February's originally reported 104.8. The February index reading was revised to 104.1. With the month-over-month improvement, the PHSI is 7.0 percent above March 2012, slightly below the 7.7 percent year-over-year gain in February. The index registered double-digit percent gains from April through October last year so the dip--on the eve of the homebuying season--is less than encouraging.

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Price Plunge Boosts March New Home Sales

After experiencing the sharpest drop in two years in February, new home sales increased 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000 in March, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Tuesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected March sales to increase to 419,000 from a February's originally reported 411,000. The median price of a new home, according to the Census-HUD report, plunged $17,900 (or 6.8 percent) in March to $247,000, the largest month-over-month decline since February 2011.

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NAR: Prices Up, Existing-Home Sales Down in March

With a sharp jump in prices, existing-home sales fell 0.6 percent in March--the steepest drop since December--to 4.92 million units, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. Economists had expected a 1.0 percent increase to 5.03 million from February's original report of 4.98 million sales. The median price of an existing single-family home jumped to $184,300, the highest level in seven months. The inventory of homes for sale edged up to 1.93 million units--a 4.7 month supply, both the highest level since November.

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Commentary: No Virginia, There is No Santa Claus

What do you do when you find out Santa Claus doesn't exist? That's the situation former vice presidential candidate/House Budget Committee Chair/potential presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) faces now that the study which provided him with the academic support for budget cuts (aimed principally at so-called entitlements) has been undermined. Harvard economists Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in 2010 published a research paper which held that for countries with debt loads equivalent to or greater than 90 percent of annual economic output, ""median growth rates fall by 1 percent, and average growth falls considerably more.""

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Multifamily Boosts Housing Starts in March

Led by a surge in multifamily building, housing starts jumped 7.0 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,036,000, the highest level since June 2008 while housing starts dropped 3.9 percent to 902,000, the lowest level since November, the Census Bureau and HUD reported jointly Tuesday. In February, multifamily activity represented 60 percent of the increase in permits, while in March, all of the multifamily units accounted for all of the increase in starts as single-family starts fell.

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Construction Spending Up in February

Construction spending rose 1.2 percent month-over-month in February, according to the Census Bureau. On an annual basis, construction spending was up 7.9 percent in February, reaching an annual rate of $885.1 billion. Residential construction spending increased 2.2 percent over the month, while nonresidential construction spending increased 0.4 percent. Within the residential sector, multifamily construction spending decreased in February while single-family construction spending rose.

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Commentary: No News Is…

The explanation from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) for the drop in the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) for February has to be viewed with a jaundiced eye. According to the NAR, the PHSI dropped because of the low inventory of homes for sale. Of course, that wasn't offered as an explanation one month earlier, when the inventory of homes for sale dropped to its lowest level since December 1999 and the PHSI increased. But when the PHSI fell in February, and the inventory of homes for sale increased, the still-low inventory became a convenient excuse.

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NAR: Inventory Shortage Brings Down Pending Home Sales in Janaury

The National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) fell 0.4 percent to 104.8 in January, the third month-over-month decline in the last four months, the association reported. Economists had expected a 0.7 percent drop to 105.2 from January's originally reported 105.9 The January index reading was revised to 105.2. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun attributed the drop in the PHSI to weak inventory of existing homes for sale.

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New Home Sales in Steepest Drop in Two Years

New home sales fell 4.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 in February, the sharpest drop in two years, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Tuesday. At the same time, the months' supply of new homes for sale rose to the highest level since December 2011. The median price of a new home, according to the Census/HUD report, rose $7,200 in February after falling $20,500 in January. The median price is up 2.9 percent in the last year, the weakest year-over-year gain in eight months.

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Permits, Starts Data Show Shift to Multifamily

Housing permits rose a sharp 4.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 in February to the highest level since June 2008, while housing starts edged up 0.8 percent to 917,000, the Census Bureau and HUD reported jointly Tuesday. Most--almost 62 percent--of the increase in permits came in applications to build multifamily units.

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