The Housing Chronicles Blog

Friday, February 16, 2018

4Q 2017 services revenue grew 2.4 percent from previous quarter and 5.2 percent year-on-year

Advance U.S. selected services total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 rose 2.4 from the third quarter of 2017 and was up 5.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016.


4Q 2017 e-commerce sales grew 3.2 percent from previous quarter and 16.9 percent year-on-year

U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 were $119.0 billion, up 3.2 percent from the third quarter of 2017, and up 16.9 percent year-on-year. Total e-commerce sales for 2017 were estimated at $453.5 billion, up 16.0 percent from 2016.


January building permits rose to 10.5-year high, up 7.4 percent year-on-year

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in January rose to a 10.5-year high of 1,396,000. This is 7.4 percent above both the revised December 2017 rate and the January 2017 rate.


January housing starts rebounded 9.7 percent from December to second-highest rate since Great Recession

Privately-owned housing starts in January rebounded sharply from weather-related dips in December to  1,326,000. This is 9.7 percent above the revised December estimate, 7.3 percent above the January 2017 level, and is the second-highest annual rate since the Great Recession.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gallup: 2017 Economic Confidence Index varied greatly by state, but average rating rose by 20 points

Residents in three states -- Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah -- essentially tie as the most confident in the U.S. economy, based on their scores on Gallup's Economic Confidence Index throughout 2017. In contrast, Vermont residents were least confident.

Several bottom-ranking states this past year -- including California, Hawaii, Maryland and Rhode Island -- ranked among the top states in 2016 but were surpassed by most other states because their confidence scores did not improve in 2017.

Massachusetts was the only other state that did not show gains in economic confidence last year, and it finished just outside the bottom 10 after ranking first overall in 2016 with an identical score of +2. 

On average, economic confidence improved by 20 points in each state.

Gallup: Half of U.S. states saw well-being scores decline in 2017

Nearly half of U.S. states saw their well-being scores decline by a statistically significant margin in 2017, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. And, for the first time in nine years of tracking changes in state well-being, no state saw statistically significant improvement from the year before.

The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index score for the nation and for each state is based on metrics that make up five essential elements of well-being:

1.  Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
2.  Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
3.  Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
4.  Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
5.  Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

For the nation as a whole, the Well-Being Index score for the U.S. in 2017 was 61.5, a decline from 62.1 in 2016 and the largest year-over-year decline since the index began in 2008.

Gallup: U.S. leadership ratings fall during first year of Trump's presidency to record-low 30 percent

Ratings of U.S. leadership fell in nearly every part of the world in the first year of Donald Trump's presidency, dragging median approval to a record-low 30%.

Approval of U.S. leadership dropped across all demographic groups during Trump's first year, but groups that typically give U.S. leadership higher approval ratings -- those with more education, those earning higher incomes and those who live in urban areas -- registered the largest declines.


Initial unemployment claims rose 7,000 in weekly report

In the week ending February 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 230,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. The 4-week moving average was 228,500, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average.


Mortgage applications dip 4.1 percent as rates right to highest level since January 2014

The Market Composite Index decreased 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans down 6.0 percent and refinances falling 2.0 percent.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest rate since January 2014, 4.57 percent, from 4.50 percent.


Bloomberg: Consumer comfort index shakes off stock market turmoil to highest level since February 2001

U.S. consumer sentiment jumped 2.6 points last week to 57, or the highest level since February 2001, indicating Americans were shaking off turbulence in the stock market.  This weekly gain was the highest since 2009.


December business inventories up 0.4 percent, sales rose 0.6 percent

Business inventories in the U.S. rose 0.4% in December after a similar gain in the prior month. Sales rose 0.6% in December. The ratio of inventories to sales held steady at 1.33.


Builder confidence remains at 72 in February

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged at a healthy 72 level in February. The HMI component charting sales expectations in the next six months rose two points to 80, the index measuring buyer traffic held steady at 54, and the component gauging current sales conditions dropped one point to 78.


January Producer Price Index rose 0.4 percent and 2.7 percent year-on-year

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.4 percent in January. Final demand prices were unchanged in December and moved up 0.4 percent in November.  The final demand index rose 2.7 percent for the 12 months ended in January.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February Business Inflation Expectations steady at 2.0 percent in the year ahead

According to the Atlanta Federal Reserve monthly survey, firms' inflation expectations were unchanged at 2.0 percent over the year ahead.


January retail sales fell 0.3 percent, largest decline in 11 months

Americans cut back on purchases of cars, furniture and a variety of other products in January, pushing retail sales down by 0.3%, the biggest decline in 11 months. The January decline, following no change in December, was the largest setback since a 0.5% fall in February of last year.