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December economic data are now being released. Housing continues to see ups and downs, with December single-family starts down but multifamily starts up. Nonetheless, 2010, though not stellar, was better than 2009, with total starts up 6.1% for the year. Both consumer and producer prices were sent a bit higher by a rise in energy prices. While rents increased more slowly than overall consumer prices, building materials prices rose more rapidly. Payroll employment advanced, though not by as much as was hoped. Residential construction employment fell, but by a relatively small number. December’s decline in the unemployment rate was not as positive an indicator as it would seem at first glance.
The Latest Postings
Housing Construction in December
December housing starts fell 4.3% due to a 9.0% drop in single-family starts. Multifamily starts increased 17.9%. Single-family building permits were up 5.5%. Changes in building codes in some states may have contributed to the increase in building permits. Posted: Jan. 20
Who Benefits From the Housing Tax Incentives?
A summary of a recent NAHB study exploring which income groups benefit from the major housing tax rules, including the mortgage interest deduction. Posted: Jan. 19
Energy Prices Spike Up; Rents Rise Modestly
A jump in energy prices was the main force behind the 0.5% rise in the December Consumer Price Index (CPI). Rents rose 0.2%. NAHB is forecasting that modest upward pressure on the CPI will emerge in the latter part of 2012. Posted: Jan. 14
Energy Costs Continue to Push Residential Building Materials Prices Up
December’s 1.1% PPI rise was largely due to higher energy prices. Residential building materials were up 4.5% from a year earlier. Posted: Jan. 13
December’s Employment Situation — November Undone
The decline in the unemployment rate from 9.8% in November to 9.4% in December is not as good as it would seem. Posted: Jan. 7
A Look Ahead: 2011 Housing Policy Issues
A quick look at some of the legislative issues and events that are likely to shape the federal housing policy debates this year. Posted: Jan. 6
Eye on the Economy is a bi-weekly digest of the latest economic and housing policy news, analysis and studies as posted on NAHB’s free Eye on Housing blog. The preceding is a reissue of his Jan.20 edition. To subscribe to Eye on the Economy, click here.
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