Housing remains a bright spot in an economy where consumer spending dropped nearly a percentage point in the second quarter and a looming year-end fiscal cliff is haunting the financial markets, Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group said Tuesday.
The group released its August 2012 Economic Outlook, which shows housing doing well with residential investment projected to contribute at least 0.2 percentage points to real gross domestic product in 2012. If that does occur, it will be residential real estate's first contribution to annual GDP since 2005.
WASHINGTON, AUG. 15 - Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved for a fourth consecutive month in August with a two-point gain to 37 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This gain builds on a six-point increase in July and brings the index to its highest level since February of 2007.
"From the builder's perspective, current sales conditions, sales prospects for the next six months and traffic of prospective buyers are all better than they have been in more than five years," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "While there is still much room for improvement, we have come a long way from the depths of the recession and the outlook appears to be brightening."
By Kenneth Harney, syndicated columnist, The Seattle Times
WASHINGTON — Though many home shoppers who assume they are still in a buyer's market find it hard to believe, one of the sobering fundamentals shaping real estate this summer is shrinking inventory: The supply of houses for sale is down significantly in most areas compared with a year ago, sometimes dramatically so.
And that is having important side impacts — raising prices and homeowners' equity stakes, and reducing total sales.
WASHINGTON, July 18 - Nationwide housing production rose by 6.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units in June, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the fastest pace of new-home construction since October of 2008.
"This good report is in keeping with the results of our latest builder confidence survey, in which many of our members said that they are seeing an influx of more serious buyers to the new-homes market this summer," observed Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "What's especially encouraging is that, as consumers realize the advantages of purchasing a newly built home while prices and interest rates are so favorable, builders are able to put more crews back to work on construction sites across the country. This in turn is helping spur local economic growth, and policymakers need to be very careful to not take any steps that would derail the beginnings of such a positive trend at this crucial time."
By Jeanne Lang Jones, Puget Sound Business Journal
The inventory of homes for sale remained tight in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties last month, with prices up most sharply in King County.
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service showed a 41.8 percent drop in total listings of single family houses and condominiums in King County in June, a 48 percent decline in total listings in Snohomish County and a 31 percent drop in Pierce County compared to June a year ago.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Builders appear to be getting more bullish on residential real estate: In May, they applied for permits to build new homes at the highest rate since September 2008, according to a government report issued Tuesday.
The increase in permits to an annual rate of 780,000 in the Census Bureau report mirrors a recent survey of builder confidence, which rose in June to its highest level since 2007, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).