Thursday, January 3, 2013

Economic updates from over the holidays


Since the email newsletter BuilderBytes was suspended during the recent holiday season, the MetroIntelligence Economic Update was also not released.  Following here are the economic stories that you may have missed during this time period (click here to read entire story):


SP/Case-Shiller 20-city Index rose by 4.3% for 12-month period ending in October

Data through October 2012 showed home prices rose 4.3% in the 12 months ending in October in the 20-City Composite, out-distancing analysts' forecasts. Anticipated seasonal weakness appeared as twelve of the 20 cities  and both Composites posted monthly declines in home prices in October. The 10- and 20-City Composites recorded respective annual returns of +3.4% and +4.3% in October 2012 - larger than the +2.1% and +3.0% annual rates posted for September 2012. In nineteen of the 20 cities, annual returns in October were higher than September.  Chicago and New York were the only two cities with negative annual returns in October. Phoenix home prices rose for the 13th month in a row. San Diego was second best with nine consecutive monthly gains.



November new home sales up by 4.4% from October and by 15.3% over last year

Sales of new single-family houses in November 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 377,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  This is 4.4 percent above the revised October rate of 361,000 and is 15.3 percent above the November 2011 estimate of 327,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in November 2012 was $246,200; the average sales price was $299,700.  The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 149,000.  This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.



Consumer confidence dips again in December due to uncertainty about the fiscal cliff
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined slightly in November, posted another decrease in December. The Index now stands at 65.1 (1985=100), down from 71.5 in November. The Expectations Index declined sharply to 66.5 from 80.9. The Present Situation Index increased to 62.8 from 57.4 last month.  Consumers' expectations retreated sharply in December resulting in a decline in the overall Index. The sudden turnaround in expectations was most likely caused by uncertainty surrounding the oncoming fiscal cliff. A similar decline in expectations was experienced in August of 2011 during the debt ceiling discussions. While consumers are quite negative about the short-term outlook, they are more upbeat than last month about current business and labor market conditions."

Both personal income and consumer spending rose in October
Personal income increased $85.8 billion, or 0.6 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $74.7 billion, or 0.6 percent, in November, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $41.3 billion, or 0.4 percent.  In October,personal income increased $7.5 billion, or 0.1 percent, DPI increased $6.4 billion, or 0.1 percent,
and PCE decreased $6.6 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates. Real disposable income increased 0.8 percent in November, in contrast to a decrease of 0.1 percent
in October.  Real PCE increased 0.6 percent, in contrast to a decrease of 0.2 percent.

Pending home sales rose for third straight month in November

Pending home sales increased in November for the third straight month and reached the highest level in two-and-a-half years, according to the National Association of Realtors®The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 1.7 percent to 106.4 in November from a downwardly revised 104.6 in October and is 9.8 percent above November 2011 when it was 96.9. The data reflect contracts but not closings. The index is at the highest level since April 2010 when it hit 111.3 as buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. With the exception of several months affected by tax stimulus, the last time there was a higher reading was in February 2007 when the index reached 107.9.

Consumer confidence falls in December due to concerns over fiscal cliff
Confidence plunged in December as consumers confronted the rising likelihood that political gridlock would push the country over the fiscal cliff.  Consumers were more pessimistic about their future finances, and more pessimistic about the outlook for the overall economy and job prospects.  One-in-four consumers spontaneously mentioned hearing about prospects for higher taxes when asked to identify what economic news they had heard, the highest level ever recorded.  While the Sentiment Index is still well above the August 2011 low associated with the Congressional debate on taxes, spending and the deficit, if no resolution is reached the falloff could easily worsen in the weeks ahead. Discounted prices and record low interest rates have forestalled declines in buying attitudes but consumers are likely to reduce purchases if income or payroll taxes increase in 2013.

New orders rose by 0.7% in November, up six of the last seven months

New orders for manufactured durable goods in November increased $1.6 billion or 0.7 percent to $220.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today.  This increase, up six of the last seven months, followed a 1.1 percent October increase.  Excluding 
transportation, new orders increased 1.6 percent.  Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.8 percent.   Inventories of manufactured durable goods in November, up thirty-four of the last thirty-five months, increased $0.7 billion or 0.2 percent to $374.7 billion.  This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.3 percent October increase. 


Initial unemployment claims fall by 12,000 in latest report

In the week ending December 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 350,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 362,000. The 4-week moving average was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week's revised average of 368,000.



Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey shows post-Hurricane Sandy improvement
Manufacturing activity rebounded this month, according to firms responding to the December Business Outlook Survey. Following reported declines in business activity in late October and early November from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, most of the survey's measures showed notable improvement this month. The survey's broad indicators of future activity also showed improvement this month.



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