Economic Roundup: October 25, 2010

Mark Ott

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W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital Corp.

Office: 928-775-9330

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License: BK-0903998

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Housing construction performance unexpectedly rose last month, beating both the market's and analysts' expectations. The big surprise was initial home construction for September.
Construction starts on private homes in September ticked up to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000, which was 0.3 percent better than August's revised estimate of 608,000. Starts on single-family homes in September reached a rate of 452,000, which was 4.4 percent over August's revised figure of 433,000.
"The 0.3 percent monthly increase in U.S. housing starts in September, to 610,000 from 608,000, is better than it looks as starts were revised up in each of the previous two months," Paul Dales, an economist with Capital Economics, told the International Business Times.
That said, building permits for private housing in September dropped 5.6 percent below August's performance to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000. However, permits for single-family homes issued in September were at a rate of 405,000, which was 0.5 percent higher than August's revised figure of 403,000.
Builder confidence in the market for new, single-family homes rose three points to 16 for October, according the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), a survey of U.S. home builders. This was the first improvement registered by the HMI in five months, and returns the index to a level last seen in June of this year.
"The new-homes market is finally moving past the lull that occurred when the home buyer tax credits expired and economic growth stalled this summer," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a public statement.
The HMI tracks three indexes. Besides the October figures on the present market, NAHB/Wells Fargo's index gauging sales expectations for the next six months rose five points to 23, and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose two points to 11.
This week is full of pertinent real estate news, starting with existing home sales data for September from the National Association of REALTORS®, which hits the headlines today. Then the Census Bureau releases its new home sales data for September on Wednesday. If last week's limited regional sales reports were any indication, expect performance to be down.
Also coming out this week is consumer confidence data for September on Tuesday from the Conference Board, which offers consumers' appraisal of their current situations and their expectations for the economy. A good companion piece of data, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment data for September, will be released on Friday.
Other data to be released this week are durable goods orders from the Census Bureau on Wednesday and data on the third quarter's gross domestic product from the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Friday.



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