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Construction Economic Update
Builders' Confidence Index, Housing Starts, Sales and More



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Construction Spending Makes Gains
Much good news was reported for financial outlays in construction. Overall April amounts were up 1.8 percent led by home improvement expenditures with an 11.6 percent jump. That helped move total residential spending forward 4.4 percent. The multifamily sector kicked in a 3.6 percent increase. Total construction expenditures are now 6.6 percent higher than this time last year.



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ABI Continues Hot Streak
Architecture firm billings rose for the seventh consecutive month, with the Architecture Billings Index scoring a 52.0 in April (any score over 50 is billings growth). This indicates the business environment continues to be healthy for architecture firms despite continued labor shortages, rising building materials costs and other challenges according to the American Institute of Architects.



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Housing Starts Drop Due to Multifamily Slowdown
Though single-family starts ticked up higher in April, overall starts were off almost four points month to month due to an 11.3 percent loss in multi-family starts. The single-family sector has started the year strong however - up 8.3 percent compared to the first four months of 2017 - leading to a 9.1 percent gain in overall starts year-to-date.



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Consumers Feeling Good
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index was at 128.0 in May - up 2.4 percent from April. Higher scores were recorded in both the 'present situation' and 'expectations' components of the index. The assessment of current conditions increased 4.2 points to a 17-year high, and those rating business conditions as "good" increased 3.6 points month to month.



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Home Sales: Up for Year, Down for Month
New home sales are up 8.4 percent year-to-date but both they and existing home sales suffered setbacks in April: 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. The months' supply of available homes for sale saw an increase in April though total inventories remain 6.2 percent lower year over year.



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Builder Confidence Reverses Decline
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index ended its recent downward streak by gaining two points in May to end at 70 (a reading over 50 means more builders view sales conditions as good than those who view them as poor). The score for 'future sales' "remained solid at 77," according to the Wells Fargo Securities Economics Group. The 'present sales' tally increased two to 76.







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October 17, 2018, 8:59 pm PDT

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