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Providing yet more evidence of the weak state of the U.S. economy, employment growth slowed to a trickle in May and June, with an average monthly net increase of only 21,500 jobs — well below the 150,000 needed to hold unemployment steady at its current level.
Inflationary pressures are easing now that oil prices have ended their rapid rise. Both the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index shifted down modestly in June. The price index for inputs into residential construction remained flat in June, easing the pressure on builders’ margins that have been steadily increasing over the past year.
The housing sector is showing some positive signs. Housing starts were up a respectable 14.6% in June and NAHB’s Housing Market Index (HMI) rose in July, although both remain at exceedingly low levels. Having lost the momentum that was building in last year’s second half, existing home sales softened further in June — their fourth decline of the past five months.
As the national debt continues to dominate media attention, policymakers are targeting housing on a number of fronts. With negative ramifications for the profitability of multifamily developments and their supply, the latest proposal takes aim at carried interest, arbitrarily redefining it as non-capital income that would be taxed as ordinary income instead of capital gains.
NAHB Economist Analyzes June Starts Data
Video: NAHB Economist Robert Denk comments on the 14.6% rise in housing starts in June. Posted: July 20
The Rental Housing Stock
Single-family detached homes account for a surprisingly large share — 27% — of the rental housing stock. Still, only 14% of single-family homes are for rent, compared to more than 80% of multifamily housing. Posted: July 20
Existing Home Sales Edge Down With Increasing Contract Cancellations
Existing homes sales remained soft in June, due partly to an unexpected spike in contract cancellations. Posted: July 20
NAHB Economist on HMI Gaining Two Points in July
Video: NAHB Economist Robert Denk comments on the two point gain in the Housing Market Index in July. Posted: July 19
Consumer Price Index down in June
The Consumer Price Index was down 0.2% in June, ending an 11-month run-up. Posted: July 15
Producer Price Index Shifts Down as Energy Prices Ease (Finally!)
The Producer Price Index shifted down 0.4% in June, as the recent decline in oil prices was finally felt. Posted: July 14
Construction Sector Job Openings Steady During Economy’s Soft Patch
Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs data confirm that the U.S. economy has hit a soft patch, but recovering construction jobs seems unaffected thus far. Posted: July 12
Employment Growth Disappoints Again in June
With a net increase of only 18,000 jobs in June, employment growth is well below the 150,000 per month needed to hold the unemployment rate steady at its current level. Posted: July 8
Government Regulations: 25% Cost of a New Home
Analysis by NAHB estimates that 25% of the price of a built-for-sale single-family home stems from costs associated with government regulations. Posted: July 8
Carried Interest Is a Multifamily Tax Issue
A proposal in the current deficit talks to arbitrarily redefine carried interest as non-capital income that would be taxed as ordinary income instead of capital gains would have a large and harmful impact on multifamily project developers. Posted: July 8
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 July 22 edition. To subscribe to Eye on the Economy, click here.
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