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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Existing Home Sales Continue to Rise

Existing-home sales rose 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Buoyed by an uptick in first time home buyers, sales reached their highest rate since February 2007. Annual sales of homes were mixed across regions, falling 1.3% in the Northeast, but rising 3.8% and 1.7% in the Midwest and West. Home sales in the South were unchanged from May.


"Existing sales rose again last month as more traditional buyers and fewer investors were able to close on a home despite many competitive areas with unrelenting supply and demand imbalances," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Looking ahead, it’s unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate as record high stock prices, near-record low mortgage rates and solid job grains face off against a dearth of home available for sale and lofty home prices that keep advancing.”

Total housing inventory slipped 0.9% in June to 2.12 million homes available for sale, while the median existing-home price moved up to $247,700, up 4.8% from a year ago.

Distressed sales were 6% of sales in June, unchanged from last month. Four percent of sales were foreclosures while 2% were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 11% and 18% respectively.

Read the NAR release.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Housing Starts Rose in June

Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.189 million in June, 1.5% above the revised May estimate of 1.135 million but 2.0% below the June 2015 rate.


Housing activity was mixed across regions. In June, starts rose 46.3% in the Northeast and 17.4% in the West, but fell 3.4% in the South and 5.2% in the Midwest.


New building permits rose during the month, rising 1.5% above May’s rate to 1.153 million. New permits, however, declined year-over-year, falling 2.0% from the June 2015 rate.

Housing completions rose 12.3% on the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.147 million. Completions were 18.7% higher than in June 2015.

Read the Census release.
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Builder Confidence Slipped in July, but Remains Positive

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell 1 point to 59 in July, after rising 2 points in June. Over the past six months, the index has held within a range of 58 and 60 points.

“The economic fundamentals are in place for a continued slow, steady growth in the housing market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Job creation is solid, mortgage rates are at historic lows and household formations are rising. These factors should help to bring more buyers into the market as the year progresses.”

The three index components posted losses in July. The index measuring sales conditions and buyer traffic fell 1 point each to 63 and 45 respectively, while the index measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell 3 points to 66.

The three month moving averages were mostly unchanged, with the Northeast, Midwest and South holding at 39, 57 and 61. The West rose 1 point to 69.

Read the NAHB release.
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Friday, July 15, 2016

Industrial Production Rose in June, But Fell 1.0% Quarterly

Industrial production rose 0.6% in June after declining 0.3% in May, according to the Federal Reserve. The increase was largely due to growth in manufacturing output. On a quarterly basis, industrial production fell at an annual rate of 1.0%.


Manufacturing output rose 0.4% in June, mostly on account of an increase in motor vehicle assemblies. The output of goods other than motor vehicles and parts was unchanged.

The utilities index rose 2.4% as warmer than usual June weather boosted electrical demand for air conditioning.

The mining index edged up 0.2% in June, as rises in the indices for oil well drilling and servicing, and coal offset declines in oil and gas extraction.

Read the Fed release.
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Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in June

There were $457.0 billion in retail and food services sales in June, up 0.6% from the previous month and 2.7% from June 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – increased 0.7% after rising 0.4% in the previous month. Year-over-year core sales increased by 3.2%.

Retail trade sales increased 0.7% on the month compared to a 0.4% rise in May, and rose 2.4% from a year ago.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores dipped in June, falling 1.0% from the previous month and 0.9% from the previous year. Sales at gasoline stations increased in June, rising 1.2%. Gasoline station sales were down 9.6% from the previous year, however.

Read the Census release.
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CPI Up 0.2% in June

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.2% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, along with rises in the indexes for energy and all items less food and energy. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 1.0% before seasonal adjustment.


The energy index increased 1.3% in June, rising for the fourth consecutive month, although major components were mixed. The gasoline and fuel oil indices each rose 3.3%, while the electricity and natural gas indices declined 3.3% and 0.4% respectively.

The food index declined 0.1% after a 0.2% decrease in May. Prices for food at home fell 0.3% in June and have fallen 1.3% over the past year. Prices for food away from home increased 0.2% for the month and 2.6% over the course of the year.

Prices for all items less food and energy increased 0.2% in June, the same as in May. The advance was largely due to a rise in the shelter index, which advanced 0.3% during the month.

Read the BLS release.
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Producer Prices Rose 0.5% in June

Producer prices rose 0.5% in June, seasonally adjusted, after rising 0.4% in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of June’s increase was attributable to an increase in prices for final demand services. Producer prices have increased 0.3% over the last 12 months.


Prices for final demand services increased for the third consecutive month, rising 0.4% in June. Much of the rise was due to an increase in the index for services related to securities brokerage and dealing, which rose 7.7%. In contrast, margins for apparel, footwear, and accessories retailing declined 2.6%.

The index for final demand goods rose 0.8% in June, the largest increase since May 2015. Three quarters of the increase was attributable to final demand energy, which rose 4.1% amid a 9.9% increase in gasoline prices. Prices for final demand foods also increased, rising 0.9%.

Read the BLS release.
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