Entries in housing starts (8)


Home Construction Falls 8.5 Percent

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Housing starts fell 8.5 percent in January, a surprising drop after they jumped 15.7 percent during the previous month, according to the Commerce Department.

Though the housing market has recovered since 2008, privately-owned housing starts amounted to 890,000 last month, below the revised estimate of 973,000 private housing starts in December.  The current level is still 23.6 percent above that of January 2012.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics, said the level was still up significantly from 851,000 in November.

“The pattern is consistent with a continued uptrend, with December exaggerated by milder-than-usual winter weather,” Sullivan said in a note.

“We suspect the index is just pausing, but that remains to be seen,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Housing Starts Surged 3.6% in October

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that housing starts rose 3.6 percent in October to an annual pace of 894,000 -- the best rate in more than five years.

Superstorm Sandy had a “minimal” effect on residential construction for October, the Commerce Department said, though the storm is expected to boost new building permits in the coming months.

“Housing is absolutely going in the right direction,” Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Group in New York, told Bloomberg News.  “Excess supply has been wound down and there’s a steady increase in demand.  That’s good for construction.”

One reason for the improved starts is record-low mortgage rates.  Freddie Mac said last week that the rate on a 30-year loan dropped to 3.34 percent.  That’s down from the previous record low of 3.36 percent set on Oct. 4, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.  Last year at this time, the 30-year loan averaged 4 percent.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage is down to 2.65 percent, from the previous record low of 2.66 percent set on Oct. 18.  A year ago at this time, the 15-year loan averaged 3.31 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Home Construction Up 2.6%

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In yet another sign that the U.S. housing market is slowly improving, the Commerce Department announced on Wednesday that builders broke ground on more new homes last month.

The agency said home construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 717,000 homes in April.  That's up 2.6 percent from the month before and more than what economists had anticipated.

Robert Denk, a senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders, says the better-than-expected figure is encouraging.

"I think this is potentially a very good number.  This bodes well for the summer.  Things really can -- we expect the activity to pick up as the year unfolds," he says.

"Conditions are right.  Prices are low, mortgage rates are low; consumers are really sort of regaining their confidence," Denk adds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Housing Starts Rise by 9.3%, Highest Level Since April 2010

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Builders broke ground on 9.3 percent more homes in November than they did in October, marking the highest increase in housing starts since April 2010, according to the latest government report released Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Commerce says construction began last month on a seasonally-adjusted rate of 685,000 new homes across the country, with 447,000 of them being single-family homes.  The figure exceeded economists' expectations, who, according to a Bloomberg survey, predicted housing starts would have fallen between 600,000 to 655,000.

Furthermore, in a sign of future home construction, the report also shows that building permits rose in November, jumping to 681,000 -- a 5.7 percent increase from October.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Economists Predict Slow US Growth Next Year

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. economy will continue its slow growth next year and joblessness will remain high, according to a survey released Monday morning by the National Association for Business Economics.

“Economists responding to the latest NABE Outlook Survey expect moderate economic growth through 2012, with little likelihood of another recession or an outbreak of inflation,” said NABE Outlook Survey Chair Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Electronics Association.

In the survey, those who responded expect inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, known as real GDP, to grow at 2.5 percent in the final quarter of 2011 and 2.4 percent in 2012.

Unemployment, the group said, is expected to decline slightly next year from its current 9 percent level.  Business spending and housing starts, on the other hand, are expected to continue to rise.
“Corporate profits and stock prices are predicted to strengthen.  But the panel remains concerned about debt-related issues in Europe,” the NABE said.

Here are the highlights from the report:

-- The NABE Outlook panel predicts moderate real GDP growth through year-end 2012.  A 2.5 percent pace is expected during the fourth quarter of 2011, followed by a 2.4 percent growth rate in 2012, with GDP in the second half of 2012 slightly stronger than in the first half.

-- The odds of a second recession are low.  Only two of 42 forecasters predicted a decline in real GDP over the near-term.  As a group, the panelists saw a recession as the least likely scenario.  Forecast confidence has improved, but remains low.

-- The NABE Outlook panel expects employment will improve, albeit very slowly.  Monthly job gains are expected to rise steadily over the forecast horizon, from an average of 100,000 during the fourth quarter of 2011 to 130,000 by the end of next year.  The jobless rate will decline from 9 percent to 8.9 percent in 2012, but despite a majority view of modest labor market improvement, NABE economists still identified “excessive unemployment” as their single greatest concern going forward.

-- Growth in consumer spending is expected to remain below trend.  Consumer spending is forecast to increase 2.1 percent this year -- the same consumer spending forecast as reported in the September survey.  The NABE Outlook Survey panel expects consumer spending to grow 2.1 percent in 2012.

-- Housing starts are expected to increase 10 percent in 2012.  The economists participating in the survey expect housing starts to reach 600,000 units in 2011, just slightly above the 2010 total and a small upward revision from the September Outlook Survey forecast.

-- Business spending remains a bright spot in the forecast.  NABE’s Outlook panel continues to forecast solid if not spectacular growth in spending on business equipment and software in both 2011 (up 10.5 percent) and 2012 (an additional increase of 8 percent).  The forecast for real spending on nonresidential structures improved from that reported in the September survey.  Panelists now envisage spending on structures to increase 4.6 percent in 2011 and 4.5 percent next year.  Industrial production is expected to increase 4 percent in 2011 and 3.3 percent in 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Last Decade's Housing Slump Was Worst Since Great Depression

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The bigger the housing sales were during the last decade, the harder they fell, according to figures released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

Until the housing bubble burst in 2007, sales of homes in the U.S. were on pace to be at an historic high.  However, that all changed with the recession and the slump that ended the first decade was the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930's.

To get an idea of how the mighty have fallen, housing starts in 2005 numbered a whopping 2.1 million in 2005.  By 2010, they were down to around 587,000.

Needless to say, industry analysts say there were far more homes built than there were buyers, which helped lead to the collapse.

Yet, the Census Bureau says despite all the doom and gloom found in the report, the rate of home ownership from 2001 through 2010 was 65.1 percent -- the second highest since records began being kept in the 1890s.  Ninety percent of the buying occurred before 2007.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Home Construction Rose by 14.6% in June

Karl Weatherly/Digital Vision/ Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Builders broke ground on 14.6 percent more homes in June than they did in May, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's latest report on housing starts released Tuesday.

The report finds that construction began last month on a seasonally-adjusted rate of 629,000 new homes across the country, with 453,000 of them being single-family homes.

While the housing starts represent just half the number needed to signal a healthy housing market, it shows the sector is on the rebound.

"It's very good news. It's in both single-family and multi-family. It's also broad-based.  It's across all of the regions. So it's good to see this kind of increase," says Robert Denk, a senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

"We expect the trend to be upward...That doesn't preclude that we'll see some volatility, that we might see these numbers go up and down.  But today's increase is definitely a good sign," he adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Housing Numbers Show Big Declines

Stockbyte/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More bad news for the housing market Wednesday, as the Commerce Department says new home construction plunged to the lowest level since April, 2009 -- down to 479,000 homes. "Weather may have had a small amount of this, but it's so broad-based across the whole country that I don't think you can blame a lot of this on weather," said David Crowe, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the National Association of Home Builders.

The Commerce Department says one big problem was that new home construction plummeted in February, the second-lowest level on record. "We now have uncertainty about political unrest, we have uncertainty about energy prices, we have uncertainty about what the Congress may do about foreclosures. So I think we've just hit another one of these, 'I don't know what's going to happen, so I'm not going to do anything' periods," said Crowe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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