Wednesday, 20 May 2009

US housing starts fall but confidence improves

US housing starts fell to a record low in April. Bloomberg reports:

Housing starts unexpectedly slid 13 percent to an annual rate of 458,000, led by a 46 percent tumble in multifamily starts, which tend to be more volatile, Commerce Department figures showed in Washington. Building permits, a sign of future construction, fell 3.3 percent to a record low of 494,000.

But there was good news in the underlying data.

Construction of single-family homes rose 2.8 percent to a 368,000 rate, today’s report showed, the second straight monthly gain. Work on multifamily homes, such as townhouses and apartment buildings, plummeted to an annual rate of 90,000 from 167,000 the month before.

The rise in single-family home construction looks more consistent with Monday's report from the NAHB. From Bloomberg:

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders in May increased to the highest level since September, providing further evidence that the housing slump that started in 2006 may be closer to a floor.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence rose to 16 from 14 the prior month, the Washington-based NAHB said today, capping the first back-to-back gain since February 2008...

Another confidence index, this time of German investors, also improved in April. Bloomberg reports:

German investor confidence rose more than economists forecast to a three-year high in May after stock markets rallied and data signaled the worst of the recession may have passed.

The ZEW Center for European Economic Research said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months ahead, increased to 31.1 from 13 in April. Economists expected a jump to 20, according to the median of 35 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

No comments:

Post a Comment