The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
Recent economic news has been better than expected, but expectations were decidedly low following several months of a spluttering economic recovery, and the latest news from overseas is less than encouraging.
The renewed concern that Europe will enter a recession in the fourth quarter because of its debt crisis will likely slow demand for U.S. exports and further depress business confidence. While the United States isn’t expected to follow Europe into recession, economic growth will be slower.
The final estimate of real GDP growth for the second quarter was revised up to a still modest 1.3%, with personal consumption expenditures and exports higher than previously estimated. At a little more than 100,000 new jobs, September employment growth also was better than anticipated, but it remains well below the level needed to reduce unemployment. Likewise, consumer confidence improved slightly, but it remains near the levels recorded during the recession.
Recent housing news has been mixed. There was a near doubling in the number of metropolitan areas judged to be improving by the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index and private residential construction spending ticked up slightly. However, pending home sales continued to drift downward, suggesting that the pace of existing home sales will likely be slowed next month.
During a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing on the merits of homeownership tax incentives to support housing demand, NAHB economist Robert Dietz presented NAHB’s case for retaining the mortgage interest deduction. Although several panelists at the hearing disputed specific benefits of the deduction, all agreed that removing it would de-stabilize an already fragile housing market by lowering demand and house prices.
October NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index Improves
The second release of the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index shows nearly a doubling in the number of metropolitan areas judged to be improving. Posted: Oct. 13
Improving Markets Index: Fayetteville, N.C.
The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index features Fayetteville, N.C., as one of the 23 markets currently classified as improving. Fayetteville is benefiting from the expansion of Fort Bragg under the Base Realignment and Closure process. Posted: Oct. 13
Employment Data Show Increase in Construction Job Openings
The August Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey reveals that the national economy, while sluggish, continues to trend better with respect to job openings. Posted: Oct. 13
The Employment Situation for September — Better Than (August’s) Nothing
Total payroll employment rose by 103,000 in September, with July and August revised up by a combined 99,000. Posted: Oct. 6
NAHB Testimony Before the Senate Finance Committee
NAHB economist Robert Dietz testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on homeownership tax incentives, defending the mortgage interest deduction and proposing tax reform options. Posted: Oct. 6
Construction Spending Rises Across the Board in August
Private residential construction spending increased 0.7% in August. Posted: Oct. 3
Consumer Confidence Improves Slightly From Multi-Year Lows
Consumer confidence improved slightly in September, but it remains close to the low levels observed during the worst part of the recession. Posted: Sept. 30
Pending Home Sales Down Again in August
Pending homes sales slipped 1.2% in August. Posted: Sept. 29
Third Crack at Second Quarter GDP Growth: A Little Better, But Still Weak
Real GDP growth for the second quarter of 2011 inched upward to a 1.3% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the third estimate. At this slow pace of growth, the economy is vulnerable to further shocks. Posted: Sept. 29
Improving Markets Index: Pittsburgh
The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index indicates the housing market in Pittsburgh is improving, with jobs growth and low unemployment propelling the local economy. Posted: Sept. 28
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 Oct. 14 edition. To subscribe to Eye on the Economy, click here.
Register for the NAHB Fall Construction Forecast Webinar, which will provide attendees with up-to-the-minute analysis of the latest housing numbers and market trends right to their desktop. The webinar will be held from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Speakers David Crowe, NAHB chief economist; Joel Prakken, senior managing director and co-founder of Macroeconomic Advisers; and Robert Denk, NAHB’s assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis, will address issues affecting the housing industry and the economy — including which housing markets may be improving and why; whether acquisition, development and construction credit is becoming more available; and if house prices are back in line with incomes and what it means for housing.
The fee is $29.95 for NAHB members and home builders associations and $49.95 for non-members.
For more information and to register, visit www.nahb.org/cfw.
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