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Home Building and Sales All Up Month to Month


Privately-owned housing starts registered a strong monthly improvement at 13.7 percent and housing completions were close behind with a 12.6 percent advance.

Led by the Northeast's 30.2 percent gain, perhaps due to its mild weather in October, new home sales rose 6.2 percent. Existing home sales posted a 2.0 percent monthly increase, and the pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors grew 3.5 percent with the South leading the way: a sign that the slowdown caused by the hurricanes has run its course.

On the building side, privately-owned housing permits gained 5.9 percent month-to month and 0.9 percent year-to-year. Housing starts surged 13.7 percent on a monthly basis but were down 2.9 percent on a yearly one, and housing completions jumped 12.6 percent, leaving their year-to-year number at 15.5 percent on the plus side.

Confidence showed improvements also. In the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for November, builder confidence for newly-built, single-family homes was up two points to a score of 70: the highest its been since March, and the second highest on record since July 2005. At 129.5, consumer confidence hit its highest level in 17 years though many thought it was actually due for a slight decrease for the month. And thanks to a 1.2 percent bump, the Leading Economic Index registered the fastest sequential gain in seven years.

On the downside, outlay for new construction starts in total fell 9 percent for the month as nonresidential building was off 30 percent. Spending on residential building saw a slight decrease of 1 percent with multifamily housing down a little further at 3 percent.

But in more good news for the construction industry, input prices remained unchanged month-to-month, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors evaluation of Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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August 25, 2019, 5:37 am PDT

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