Tag Archive for ‘economics’

What Do Vacancy Rates Tell Us about the Shortage of Housing?

Vacancy rates are one of the key statistics NAHB Economics tracks to judge the health and direction of the housing market. The currently low homeowner and rental vacancy rates are typically interpreted as a sign of tight housing markets, with lower vacancy rates signaling a greater housing shortage. NAHB’s analysis of the latest 2017 ACS vacancy data highlights the metropolitan… Read More ›

Energy Prices Continue to Fall

The CPI was unchanged in January. The decrease in energy prices in January offset increases in the “core” CPI and the food index. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was unchanged in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. The CPI remained unchanged for the third consecutive month. Over the past twelve months, on… Read More ›

Construction Job Openings Jump in December

Despite the housing-focused slowdown during the second half of 2018, the count of unfilled jobs in the construction sector surged in December. According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs increased to a cycle high of 382,000 in December. This is significantly higher than the December 2017 estimate of… Read More ›

Unexpected Gain for New Home Sales in November

Data for November indicated a surprise gain for the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new single-family home sales. The data was delayed due to the partial government shutdown. Survey data, including builder confidence, suggest December estimates, when published, will show market weakness however. Contracts for new, single-family home sales increased almost 17% to a 657,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate according to… Read More ›

Fed Pursues Patience

As expected, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee, unanimously agreed to hold steady the federal funds top rate at 2.5%. The Fed’s January statement was consistent with recent policymakers’ comments suggesting a more flexible stance toward monetary policy at the end of last year and the start of 2019. In particular, the statement indicated that… Read More ›

More Homes Needed to Replace Older Stock

Over the 40-year span from 1961 through 2000, housing starts averaged a little over 1.5 million a year, but they have been nowhere near that high since 2006.  As a recent NAHB study explains, one outcome of this shortfall has been a tendency for older homes to remain in service longer.  Attempts to improve the stock of housing in the U.S. (for example, through new… Read More ›

U.S. Population Growth Persists but Growth Rate Slows

The U.S. population grew by 2.0 million between July 1, 2017 and July 1,2018, representing a 0.6% increase from 325.1 million to 327.2 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s national and state population estimates. The 2017 population estimates were revised downward by about 0.6 million, from 325.7 million in the Census’s previous iteration of its estimation methodology. Despite initial… Read More ›

Lower Interest Rates Stabilize Builder Confidence

Buoyed by falling mortgage rates, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points to 58 in January on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The gradual decline in mortgage rates in recent weeks helped to sustain builder sentiment. Low unemployment, solid job growth and favorable demographics should support housing demand in… Read More ›

Student and Auto Loans Dominate Non-Mortgage Debt

Preliminary consumer credit data for November 2018 released by the Federal Reserve Board’s G.19 Consumer Credit report, which exclude loans secured by real estate, indicate an increase in outstanding credit of about 6.75% (seasonally-adjusted annual rate) from the previous month. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 5.50%, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 7.00%. Revolving… Read More ›