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Tag Archives: Census Bureau

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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Survey: 1 in 5 U.S. Households Reside in a Multifamily Rental

The Census Bureau and HUD released the results of its new 2012 Rental Housing Finance Survey, revealing that one in five American households live in multifamily rental buildings. The survey, which was conducted in the winter and early spring of 2012, found that there are nearly 2.3 million multifamily rental properties in the United States, 67 percent of which are owned by households or individuals. Among other findings: 1,337, or 59.4 percent, of multifamily rental properties examined in the survey have at least one mortgage.

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Gasoline Sales Boost February Retail Activity

Led by a surge in gasoline prices, retail sales rose 1.1 percent in February, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday. Economists had expected an increase of 0.5 percent. In January, retails sales rose 0.2 percent. Gasoline station sales rose 5.0 percent in February after a 0.7 percent increase in January.

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