Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for May 2013.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000. This is 3.1 percent below the revised April rate of 1,005,000, but is 20.8 percent above the May 2012 estimate of 806,000.
Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 622,000; this is 1.3 percent above the revised April figure of 614,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 325,000 in May.
Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000. This is 6.8 percent above the revised April estimate of 856,000 and is 28.6 percent above the May 2012 rate of 711,000.
Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 599,000; this is 0.3 percent above the revised April figure of 597,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 306,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 690,000. This is 0.9 percent below the revised April estimate of 696,000, but is 12.6 percent above the May 2012 rate of 613,000.
Single-family housing completions in May were at a rate of 546,000; this is 4.2 percent above the revised April rate of 524,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 135,000.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes hit a significant milestone in June, surging eight points to a reading of 52 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.
“This is the first time the HMI has been above 50 since April 2006, and surpassing this important benchmark reflects the fact that builders are seeing better market conditions as demand for new homes increases,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C. “With the low inventory of existing homes, an increasing number of buyers are gravitating toward new homes.”
The eight-point jump in the index was the biggest one-month gain since August and September of 2002, when the HMI recorded a similar increase of eight points.
“Builders are experiencing some relief in the headwinds that are holding back a more robust recovery,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Today’s report is consistent with our forecast for a 29 percent increase in total housing starts this year, which would mark the first time since 2007 that starts have topped the 1 million mark.”
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Pending home sales improved slightly in April and continue to be well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Gains in the Northeast and Midwest were offset largely by declines in the West and South.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 0.3 percent to 106.0 in April from 105.7 in March, and is 10.3 percent above April 2012 when it was 96.1; the data reflect contracts but not closings.
Home contract activity is at the highest level since the index hit 110.9 in April 2010, immediately before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. Pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 24 months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said a familiar pattern has developed. “The housing market continues to squeak out gains from already very positive conditions. Pending contracts so far this year easily correspond to higher closed home sales in 2013,” he said. Total existing-home sales are expected to rise just over 7 percent to about 5 million this year.
“Because of inventory shortages, higher home sales will push up home values to the highest level in five years,” Yun said. The national median existing-home price should increase close to 8 percent and exceed $190,000 in 2013.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
With vacancy rates modestly falling and rents moderately rising in commercial real estate sectors, market fundamentals have improved, but financing remains a challenge for small business, according to the National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is showing an uneven recovery. “The wheels appear to be greased for the big players, but not so much for small business,” he said. “Overall, the commercial sectors are firming nicely, with multifamily continuing to show the best performance.”
National vacancy rates over the coming year are expected to decline 0.1 percentage point in the office market, 0.5 point in industrial, and 0.3 point for retail; however, the average multifamily vacancy rate is forecast to rise 0.2 percentage point, with that sector still showing the tightest availability and biggest rent increases.
For more information, view Commercial Real Estate Fundamentals Improving, Lending Tight for Small Business
Data through March 2013, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that all three composites posted double-digit annual increases. The 10-City and 20-City Composites increased by 10.3% and 10.9% in the year to March with the national composite rising by 10.2% in the last four quarters. All 20 cities posted positive year-over-year growth.
In the first quarter of 2013, the national composite rose by 1.2%. On a monthly basis, the 10- and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.4%. Charlotte, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Tampa were the five MSAs to record their largest month-over-month gains in over seven years.
The chart above depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 10.2% gain in the first quarter of 2013 over the first quarter of 2012. In March 2013, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual increases of 10.3% and 10.9%, respectively.
“Home prices continued to climb,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Home prices in all 20 cities posted annual gains for the third month in a row. Twelve of the 20 saw prices rise at double-digit annual growth. The National Index and the 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest annual returns since 2006.
“Phoenix again had the largest annual increase at 22.5% followed by San Francisco with 22.2% and Las Vegas with 20.6%. Miami and Tampa, the eastern end of the Sunbelt, were softer with annual gains of 10.7% and 11.8%. The weakest annual price gains were seen in New York (+2.6%), Cleveland (+4.8%) and Boston (+6.7%); even these numbers are quite substantial.
“Other housing market data reported in recent weeks confirm these strong trends: housing starts and permits, sales of new home and existing homes continue to trend higher. At the same time, the larger than usual share of multi-family housing, a large number of homes still in some stage of foreclosure and buying-to-rent by investors suggest that the housing recovery is not complete.”