Home >> Tag Archives: Housing Starts (page 20)

Tag Archives: Housing Starts

Commentary: Headlines and Bottom Lines

One of the most interesting results of poring through economic data reports is that the details often tell a different story than the headline. Coverage of the recent report on housing permits and starts, for example, was dominated by the increases in both metrics, suggesting a revival of the housing sector, a response some analysts suggested is due to tight inventories of existing-single family homes on the market. However, a closer look revealed a more important phenomenon.

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Starts, Permit 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├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ôof the increase in permits came in applications to build multifamily units. While the comparisons are favorable, the June 2008 activity came in the midst of a steady decline in residential construction.

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Builder Confidence Slips to 5-Month Low as Prices Fall

Builder confidence slipped in March to 44, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Monday. Economists had expected the Housing Market Index to improve to 47 from February's reading of 46. Tighter inventories had been expected to improve confidence, but builder attitudes have also been weighed down by prices of new single-family homes. With the March report, the total index remained below 50 for the 83rd straight month.

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Commentary: People Will Die

The President has tried repeatedly to describe the impact of sequestration, a mandatory across-the-board cut in federal spending exempting only a small handful of social safety net programs. Despite those exemptions, a simple fact is that people will die as a result of these cuts, and lives could be changed irrevocably. The tragedy in this is not what might happen, although that's pretty severe long-term. The tragedy is both Democrats and Republicans have the means to fix it without having to resort to face-saving techniques.

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Commentary: Maximizing the Minimum

Economic data for the week ending February 22--particularly for housing--was less than encouraging. A small increase in existing-home sales was the only bright spot, but that was weighed down by another drop in the median price of existing single-family homes to their lowest level in 10 months. The word "another" is critical because it means the drop in inventory in December did not result in higher prices. Indeed, the supply of homes for sale fell again in January, this time to the lowest level in 13 years.

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Builder Confidence Slips in February, South Leads Declines

Led by a sharp drop in the South, builder confidence slipped in February to 46--the lowest level since November--the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Tuesday. Economists had expected the Housing Market Index (HMI), a measure of confidence, would improve to 48 from January's reading of 47. Nationally, two of the three index components--current single-family sales and buyer traffic--declined, while the assessment of sales for the next six months edged up.

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