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Tag Archives: Mark Lieberman

Case-Shiller Indices Near Five-Year High

Home prices rose to their highest levels in almost five years in May, increasing by a non-seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent, according to the ""Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday. The 20-city index was up 12.2 percent from a year earlier, and the companion 10-city index was up 11.8 percent. For the month, the 10-city index rose 2.5 percent and the 20-city index was up 2.4 percent. The 10-city index rose to its highest level since September 2008, and the 20-city index to its highest level since October 2008.

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Pending Home Sales Index Falters in June

The National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) slipped 0.4 percent in June to 110.9 in response to higher mortgage rates. Economists had expected the index to drop to 110.7, which would have been a 1.4 percent decline from May's originally reported 112.3. The May index was revised down to 111.3. With the revision, the May index, originally reported as the highest in six years, matched the level of April 2010.

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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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Home Price Boost Sends Sales Down in June

Existing-home sales fell 1.2 percent in June to an annual sales rate of 5.08 million as the price of a single-family home rose 13.5 percent from a year earlier--the strongest year-over-year gain since November 2005, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected existing-home sales to jump to 5.27 million from May's originally reported sales pace of 5.18 million. The median price of an existing home rose $11,100 or 5.5 percent for the month to $214,200, the highest price since June 2008.

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Commentary: Walking the Walk

The nation's home builders celebrated Tuesday with the release of July's Housing Market Index, which showed a six-point jump in the measure of builder confidence on the heels of a seven-point jump one month earlier. In the last three months, confidence--as measured by the index--is up 16 points, or almost 40 percent. With giddy numbers like these, one would think builders would rush to break ground--or at least file the paperwork to do so, but they're not.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop to 10-Week Low

One week after spiking to a two-month high, first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped 24,000 to 334,000 for the week ending July 13--the lowest level in 10 weeks, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected the number of claims to drop to 344,000 from the 360,000 originally reported for the week ending July 6. The number of filings for that week was revised down to 358,000.

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Beige Book Again Sees Modest to Moderate Growth

Citing improvements in manufacturing, tourism, commercial and residential real estate and in the financial sector, the Federal Reserve Wednesday said the nation's economy ""continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace"" from late May through early July. The assessment in the periodic Beige Book was tempered by ""mixed"" conditions in the agricultural sector and the absence of improvement in labor markets. ""Hiring,"" the Beige Book said, ""held steady or increased at a measured pace.""

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What Soaring Confidence? Builders Cut Back in June

Despite soaring builder confidence, new housing permits and starts fell in June, with new construction falling to the lowest level in 10 months, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Wednesday. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new housing permits tumbled 7.5 percent--the largest month-over-month decline since January 2011--while starts fell 9.9 percent, the second-largest drop since February 2011. Builders completed homes at an annual adjusted pace of 755,000 in June, 6.3 percent more than May's 710,000.

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Builder Confidence Surges Again in July

After surging in June, the Housing Market Index, a measure of builder confidence, shot up again in July, climbing six points to 57, its highest reading since January 2006, the National Association of Home Builders reported Tuesday. The two month 13-point gain was the strongest two-month increase since January-February 1992 when the index improved 14 points.

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Autos, Gas Prices Boost June Retail Sales

Driven by stronger auto sales and rising gasoline prices, total retail sales increased 0.4 percent in June, down from May’s increase, the Census Bureau reported Monday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.8 percent. May retail sales were revised to show an increase of percent, up from the originally reported 0.5 percent. The report suggested continuing struggles for the consumer sector, which represents 70 percent of the economy.

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