The Housing Chronicles Blog

Friday, November 17, 2017

3Q 2017 online retail sales up 15.5 percent year-on-year vs. 4.3. percent for all retail

After being adjusted for seasonal variations, U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2017 were $115.3 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent from the previous quarter and 15.5 percent year-on-year.

Total retail sales for the third quarter of 2017 were estimated at $1,268.9 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent from the previous quarter and 4.3 percent year-on-year.

The share of e-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2017 accounted for 9.1 percent of total sales, up from 8.9 percent the previous quarter and 8.2 percent year-on-year.


October housing starts rebound 13.7 percent from September, down 2.9 percent year-on-year

Privately-owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,290,000. This is 13.7 percent above the revised September estimate of 1,135,000, but is 2.9 percent below the October 2016 rate of 1,328,000.


October building permits rebound 5.9 percent from September, up 0.9 percent year-on-year

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,297,000. This is 5.9 percent above the revised September rate of 1,225,000 and is 0.9 percent above the October 2016 rate of 1,285,000.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Initial unemployment claims rise by 10,000 in latest report

In the week ending November 11, initial unemployment claims were 249,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 239,000. The 4-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 231,250.


Mortgage applications up 3.1 percent in latest survey as rates remain flat

The Market Composite Index increased 3.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans up 0.4 percent and refinances rising 6.0 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 4.18 percent.


Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index: Economic optimism rising to 3-month high in weekly survey

Optimism about the direction of the U.S. economy improved to a three-month high in November as sentiment remained supported by a robust job market and steady growth, with the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rising to 52.1.


Axiometrics: October's 2.1 percent apartment rent growth flat from September as occupancy dipped to 94.7 percent

October's 2.1% annual effective rent growth was essentially the same as September's rate, but was 44 bps lower than the 2.6% of October 2016. The national occupancy rate declined by 16 bps to 94.7% in October, the lowest it has been since March, but that's nothing new in the post-recession period. Occupancy has declined from 13-24 bps from September to October in each of the past eight years.


Industrial production up 0.9 percent in October and 2.9 percent year-on-year

Industrial production rose 0.9 percent in October, and manufacturing increased 1.3 percent. Total industrial production has risen 2.9 percent over the past 12 months; output in October was 106.1 percent of its 2012 average. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was 77.0 percent, a rate that is 2.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2016) average.


November builder confidence rose two points to 70, second-highest level since mid-2005

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points to a level of 70 in November on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This was the highest report since March, and the second highest on record since July 2005.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gallup: Well-Being Index drops in 2017 to levels last seen in 2014

Overall well-being among U.S. adults has declined substantially this year. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index score so far in 2017 is 61.5, down 0.6 points from 62.1 in 2016 and on par with the lower level recorded in 2014. This decline is both statistically significant and meaningfully large. 

This year marks a reversal of the three-year upward trend, with minorities, women, low-income adults and Democrats bearing the brunt of the decline.  Within those groups, emotional and psychological metrics were the primary source of the drop.


Gallup: 4Q 2017 Small Business Index dips slightly after 10-year high in July

U.S. small-business owners continue to display optimism about business conditions in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey. In the quarterly survey, which measures small-business owners' attitudes about a wide variety of factors affecting their businesses, the overall index score has declined slightly to +103, after hitting a 10-year high of +106 in July.


Gallup: U.S. Economic Confidence Index holds at highest level since mid-August

Americans' confidence in the economy was steady last week, holding at the highest level since mid-August and one of the highest levels in the past nine years. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +7 for the week ending Nov. 12.


November Empire State Manufacturing Survey down from October but still firmly in positive territory

Business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the November 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. Though the headline general business conditions index fell eleven points from the multiyear high it reached last month, it remained firmly in positive territory at 19.4. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms were very optimistic about future business conditions.

November business inflation expectations rise to 2.0 percent over next year

In the November survey:
  • Inflation expectations: Firms' inflation expectations increased to 2.0 percent over the year ahead.
  • Current economic environment: Sales levels improved somewhat, and profit margins were roughly unchanged over the month.
  • Quarterly question: Sixty-one percent of respondents expect labor costs to put upward pressure on prices over the year ahead. Fifty-six percent of respondents expect nonlabor costs to put upward pressure on prices over the year ahead. The majority of firms expect sales levels, productivity, and margin adjustments to have little or no influence on prices over the year ahead.

September business inventories flat but sales rose

Business inventories were flat in September followed a downwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in August. Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product and were previously reported to have risen 0.7 percent in August.  Sales were up 1.4 percent from August and 6.4 percent year-on-year.