The Housing Chronicles Blog: May column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

Friday, May 16, 2014

May column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

My column for the May 2014 issue of Builder and Developer magazine is now posted online.

For this issue, entitled "First Quarter 2014 Economic Update," I reviewed how the housing market and the overall U.S. economy performed during the first quarter of this year.  An excerpt:
After a weather-related pause due to a particularly harsh winter in much of the country, economic growth is again gaining traction. Still, the economy has yet to function on all cylinders, with both the labor market and consumer confidence improving while building permits dipped by 2.4 percent in March and have bounced mostly between 900,000 and one million units per month over the last year. Meanwhile, housing starts rose by nearly three percent in March and averaged 923,000 units during the first quarter of 2014, but are still down by about six percent from March 2013. 

Builders are still managing to sell close to 450,000 annualized single-family units per year while inventory has been slowly creeping up to 189,000 homes by February 2014, or about 5.2 months of supply. The median sales price for new homes hit $261,800 in February versus $267,700 for all of 2013.

After being in a holding pattern for several months, builder confidence ended the quarter at 46 before rising by one point to 47 in April. According to NAHB Economist David Crowe, “Headwinds that are holding up a more robust recovery include ongoing tight credit conditions for home buyers and fact that builders in many markets are facing a limited availability of lots and labor.”
To read the entire column, click here.

To read the entire May 2014 issue in digital format, click here.

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