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Construction Economic Highlights
Home Sales, Homebuilder Confidence, Unemployment and More


Turnaround in Existing Home Sales After three months that saw home sales decline, and in spite of the pressure put on regional real estate markets by the recent hurricanes, September's existing home sales numbers posted a gain, though small at 0.7 percent. However inventory is down 6.4 percent this year compared to last, which continues to negatively affect sales


Value of Total Construction Starts Make Big Leap With a strong showing from the nonresidential sector, up 37 percent, the bottom line for new construction in September surged 14 percent. Residential starts came in with a 1 percent gain in value as both single family and multifamily were in positive territory.


Architecture Billings Recede Breaking seven months in a row above the benchmark score of 50, the Architecture Billings Index dropped 4.6 points in September to come in at 49.1; dragged down by the West region, which was the only one to report a sub-50 score. New product inquiries and new design contracts, though also down, still posted strong numbers.


Homebuilder Confidence is High The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose four points in its October survey to 68 points. This is the highest level it's been since May and gains back the three-point drop in September. Outlooks for current and future sales conditions were both up five points by buyer traffic only increased one point, a byproduct of limited inventories.


Rebound in Housing Starts Looms September saw a 4.5 percent decline in permits but they remain nearly 8 percent above starts, which signals that an uptick in starts is on its way. The major storms in the South were cited as key reasons for the drop in housing starts (-4.7 percent) as well as permits.


Unemployment Hits Record Lows Claims for unemployment benefits posted the lowest weekly level since December 1973 and have dropped almost 9 percent from one year ago. And last month, the unemployment rate sunk to 4.2 percent - a 16-year low.


Sharp Expansion of New Home Sales After two down months, sales of new homes jumped 18.9 percent, bringing the pace of this traditionally volatile measurement to its highest level since October 2007. All four regions improved but the South (+25.8 percent) made up 80 percent of the gain.

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, November 2017.

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