The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
Housing news continued to be mixed, with a few bright spots. The national economy advanced at a faster pace in the fourth quarter, and consumer confidence improved markedly — both good signs for housing.
December’s existing home sales were up, while single-family construction spending held its own. Two indexes for housing prices declined in November, but the monthly volatility appears to be the result of a softening in the market following the end of the home buyer tax credit rather than predictive of continued decline.
Multifamily construction spending was down in December as apartment construction fell in the final quarter of the year, but rental vacancy rates fell significantly in the fourth quarter, suggesting improvement in the upcoming quarters. Spending on homeowner remodeling was down in December, but NAHB’s fourth quarter Remodeling Market Index shows signs of improvement as we move forward. Credit conditions for real estate remain difficult.
The President’s State of the Union speech placed corporate tax reform on the agenda, but various anti-housing policy proposals in the news were left unmentioned.The Latest Postings
- December Single-family Residential Construction Spending Holds Its Own While Multifamily Construction Spending and Improvements Fall
December residential construction spending fell 4.1% due to a 5.3% decline in multifamily spending and an 8.3% drop in improvements. Posted: Feb. 1
- CBO: Budget and Economic Outlook
A synopsis of the CBO’s latest forecast of the state of the federal government’s finances. Posted: Feb. 1
- Rental Vacancy Down But Homeownership Rate Continues to Slip
The rental vacancy rate fell to 9.4% in last year’s fourth quarter, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2003. Meanwhile, the homeownership rate fell to 66.6%. Implicit in the numbers is early evidence that household formations may be increasing. Posted: Jan. 31
- Federal Reserve Survey Reports Continued Tight Lending Conditions
The Federal Reserve’s January 2011 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices showed continued tight lending conditions in the fourth quarter of 2010. A number of domestic banks reported tightening loan-to-value ratios for commercial real estate. While surveyed banks did not change their standards for prime mortgages, a few tightened standards for non-traditional mortgage loans. However, a number of banks indicated they expected to increase residential real estate lending in the first half of this year. Posted: Jan. 31
- Fourth Quarter Real GDP Advance Estimate: Solid Improvement
The first (or “advance”) report on fourth quarter 2010 gross domestic product showed the economy advancing by a healthy 3.2%, up from third quarter’s 2.6%. Residential fixed investment regained its role as a contributor to GDP, increasing 3.4%, after falling sharply in the third quarter. Posted: Jan. 28
- Remodeling Market Index Edges Up: Big Projects & Calls for Bids Close to Break-Even
NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index rose in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 41.5 — still below the crucial reading of 50, which indicates a steady remodeling market. On the positive side, some of the underlying indexes that make up the RMI were close to 50. Posted: Jan. 28
- State of the Union: Focus on Corporate Tax Reform
A summary and analysis of the President’s State of the Union speech, with special focus on proposed changes in business taxes. Posted: Jan. 28
- Consumer Confidence Improves With the New Year
The Conference Board’s January Consumer Confidence Index jumped 7.3 points from December’s reading. Consumers’ outlook for employment, income and housing all improved. Posted: Jan. 26
- Mixed Results for House Price Indexes in November…But Keep an Eye on the Big Picture
Both the S&P/Case-Shiller and the FHFA housing price indexes were down in November. Moving beyond the month-to-month volatility of house prices, a broader view shows that prices are stable to slightly higher in many markets. Posted: Jan. 26
- Tax Reform Debate: Multifamily Focus
Discussion of adverse tax provisions for multifamily housing under proposals to reduce the federal deficit. Posted: Jan. 21
- Existing Home Sales Surge in December
Existing home sales jumped 12.3% in December. Sales improved in all regions of the country. Posted: Jan. 20
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