Economy

Economic Data Roundup (06/17/2016)

6/17/16 12:00 PM

iStock_000000365402_Small.jpgThere were two reports on the U.S. housing market worth mentioning this morning. First, data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) showed that builders’ confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved this month, with the housing market index lifting to 60 in June. This was better than economists had predicted and the highest reading since January. Under the hood, gauges of current sales conditions and prospective buyer traffic both rose markedly this month, and sales expectations for the next six months also lifted. Regionally, builder sentiment improved over the past three months in the South and the West and softened slightly in the Northeast and the Midwest. NAHB Chairman Ed Brady added that “builders in many markets across the nation are reporting higher traffic and more committed buyers at their job sites,” but cautioned that “our members are also relating ongoing concerns regarding the shortage of buildable lots and labor and noting pockets of softness in scattered markets.”

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Elsewhere, a report from the Census Bureau showed that privately-owned housing starts in May grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.164 million units. That is a 0.3 percent decrease from April’s downward-revised print but better than economists had expected. Single-family housing starts also rose by 0.3 percent last month and multi-family units (rentals) lifted by 1.3 percent. Regionally, housing starts declined in the Northeast and the Midwest but lifted in the South and the West. Building permits increased in May (+0.7 percent) and were similarly driven by rentals as multi-family housing permits jumped by 6.7 percent and single-family permits fell by 2.0 percent. Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James Financial, added that “All along we expected this would be a pretty gradual recovery and that’s largely coming true. We’re still very far from a boom period in housing but I think the fundamentals are still pretty good.”

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Sources: Econoday, Twitter, Bloomberg, ZH, NAHB, Department of Commerce, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch