Posts Tagged ‘Commerce Department’

U.S Economic Update, GDP Quarter 2 Revisions, Manufactured Housing

September 5th, 2017 Comments off

Featured image credit, Pixabay.

The revised second quarter estimate from the Commerce Department shows that the U.S. economy is stronger than originally thought, per CNBC.

The boost has been in part due to stronger business investments, and more consumer spending.

Last month’s gross domestic product (GDP) was reported to be up 2.6 percent during the second quarter. Economists had predicted that the revised number would likely be slightly higher, at 2.7 percent.

GDP Revised

When the Commerce Department’s revised report was released Wednesday was an even bigger increase than expected – at 3.0 percent.

Businesses made a significant impact on the economy in the second quarter. Spending on equipment jumped 8.8 percent, up from 8.2 percent the month before.

Investments on nonresidential structures grew by 6.2 percent – an increase from the originally reported 4.9 percent rate.

Consumer spending, which makes up more than two-thirds of the economy, grew at a rate of 3.3 percent. Originally, in July this was reported at 2.8 percent. This increase is due to more spending on items like vehicles, cell phones, housing and utilities.


Image credit, CNBC.

Underlying domestic demand in the economy is consistent with near three percent growth but the supply-side of the economy is not capable of delivering such a pace of growth at this point,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Reports indicate that consumer spending came in part out of savings. The savings rate dropped from 3.9 percent in the first quarter, to 3.7 percent in the second. 

Since consumers cannot continue to spend from savings forever, there are doubts as to whether increased consumer spending at this pace is sustainable.

So far, in the third quarter business spending and retail sales appear to have held steady.  Of course Hurricane Harvey will be factored in soon too.

As Daily Business News readers know, Hurricane Harvey will increase demand for manufactured housing, as was reported Texas and Louisiana last week.

The impact on the national economy will be minor,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. “While some output will be lost in the wake of the storm, most of the difference will be made up in the months ahead.”

Damages from the storm are estimated to be upwards of $100 billion. Tens of thousands have been forced to leave their homes. Even with aid from FEMA, HUD, and regional manufactured home professionals, it’s going to be months-to-years before things start getting back to normal for survivors of Harvey.

Our point estimate remains for a small drag on growth in Q3: measured Q3 real GDP growth will be only slightly (~0.1ppt QoQ SAAR) lower due to Harvey,” Citi’s Andrew Hollenhorst said in a note Tuesday.

The output reduction could be greater if the disruption is longer lasting or if there are larger knock-on effects outside the region. For instance, stoppages at oil refineries could curtail activity further down the supply line.” ## (News.)

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JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.



Homebuilder Confidence Numbers Show Need for Manufactured Housing

May 18th, 2017 Comments off

Manufactured Housing: a “front and center” solution. Credits: NAHB, MPA Mag, Marlette Homes.

New data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo’s Housing Market Index (HMI) showed that homebuilder confidence grew in May to its second highest point since the recession.

The report, which is compiled from a monthly survey that the NAHB has conducted for 30 years, gauges homebuilder sentiment of current single-family homes sales, and expectations over the next six months.

According to HousingWire, homebuilder confidence increased by two points in May, rising to 70, up from 68 in April. In the survey, a number over 50 indicates that most homebuilders in the survey view conditions as good rather than poor.


Granger McDonald. Credit: Builder Magazine.

This report shows that builders’ optimism in the housing market is solidifying, even as they deal with higher building material costs and shortages of lots and labor,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald.

As the Daily Business News covered here, the Commerce Department reported that single-family homebuilding market rose 0.4 percent to a pace of 835,000 units in April, with single-family starts growing 19.4 percent in the Midwest and 9.1 percent in the West, while they fell 3.4 percent in the South and tumbled 29.2 percent in the Northeast.

While Granger sees optimism, economists polled by Reuters believe that homebuilders are failing to effectively take advantage of a chronic shortage of properties for sale amid complaints about expensive building materials and shortages of lots and labor.

Overall, two of the three components that make up the HMI increased in May, with the sales expectation component rising four points to 79, and the current sales component rose two points to 76. By comparison, the component that measures buyer traffic dropped to 51.


Robert Dietz. Credit Twitter.

The HMI measure of future sales conditions reached its highest level since June 2005, a sign of growing consumer confidence in the new home market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward.”




Increased Demand… But Can It Be Met?


A Clayton Homes factory. The ability to produce quickly and effectively with proper oversight is key to solving housing challenges. Credit: Clayton Homes.

Comments from Dietz expose a significant challenge for the site built housing industry, where a confluence of cost, labor, timing and demand all meet… and cannot be satisfied quickly enough.

With consumer demand for quality, affordable housing that can be delivered quickly, the manufactured housing industry sits “in the driver’s seat” when it comes to being able to fill that gap.

Even though manufactured and modular homebuilders are also susceptible to crunches at times, one of the numerous advantages of factory building is the ability to recruit and train team members who can work effectively in a production center environment. When combined with the ability to significantly cut down on production time, manufactured housing serves as the ideal solution to inventory and housing challenges.


Credit: MHLivingNews.

For more on manufactured housing being the solution that’s hiding in plain sight, see MHProNews and MHLivingNews Publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach’s insight into the opportunity linked here. ##


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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


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Housing Starts, Single-family Home Construction Shows Promise in June

July 20th, 2016 Comments off

home sales rising  housingwire com  credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Commerce Department tells MHProNews that housing starts rose 4.8 percent in June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million. While the June rate was the highest since Feb., it was down from 1.21 million a year ago, according to philly.

Meanwhile, construction of single-family homes increased 4.4 percent in June to 778,000, as home building rose 46.3 percent in the Northeast and 17.4 percent in the West. Builders have focused more on single-family homes this year, moving away from multifamily which dominated much of the building scene in recent years.

The housing boom of the mid-200s was producing above a 1.7 million home annual rate, but that fell below 600,000 as the housing bubble burst. The past year the rate has hovered between 1.1 million and 1.2 million.

This morning’s report was quite upbeat,” Neil Shankar, U.S. regional economist at TD Economics, wrote in a research note. “Continued job creation coupled with rising wages and low interest rates bodes well for a broader rebound in housing demand as well as consumer spending.”

Completion of multifamily housing, which includes buildings with over five residential units, hit 386,000 in June, the highest number since 1989. In the highest seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) since Sept. 2008, builders completed work on almost 1.15 million homes. ##

(Graphic credit: housingwire)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

New Home Sales Spike; Pending and Existing Home Sales also Rise

May 27th, 2016 Comments off

housing_recovery__globest.com__creditPending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April, this time hitting the highest level since Feb. 2006, as 12newsnow reports to MHProNews. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index billowed 5.1 percent in April to 116.3, just shy of the 117.4 level ten years ago.

In the latest of good news for the improving housing market, pending home sales are up 4.6 percent over April 2015. In another good stroke, the Commerce Department reported new home sales spiked 16.6 percent last month to a seasonally annual average rate (SAAR) of 619,000, the most since Jan. 2008.

Comprising 90 percent of the market, existing homes sales rose last month to an annual rate of 5.45 million.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributed the increases to mortgage rates that continue to hover below four percent, and job growth that proffers the confidence and money to buy homes. ##

(Image credit: globest–housing market recovery)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

New Home Sales Surge in April, especially in the Northeast

May 25th, 2016 Comments off

new_house_sold___reutersGood news for the spring buying season came in the form of new home sales trumpeting 16.6% in April, the best monthly rate since 2008, as sales rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 619,000 units, up from 531,000 in March. According to the Commerce Department, as reported to MHProNews by thehill, the surge represents a 23.8 percent rise above the April 2015 estimate of 500,000.

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at, said that “at last we have a clear, statistically significant view that the new home market is having its best spring buying season in a decade.”

At the end of April, 2016 there were approximately only 243,000 new homes for sale, which amounts to a 4.7 month supply, down from 5.5 months in March.

The median sales prices of new homes sold in April was $321,100, while the average was $379,800.

Regionally, the biggest jump was in the Northeast where sales rose 52.8 percent. The West improved 18.8 percent and the South 15.8 percent. The Midwest saw a decline of 4.8 percent.

Robert Dietz of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) sees the increase as a sign of increased production to come, while Ralph McLaughlin of Trulia said “This should put to rest fears of an oncoming recession.” Ed Brady, also of the NAHB, says the surge is an indication “that growing demand will keep the housing sector on an upward trajectory through the spring buying season.”

MHProNews understands the volatility of the new home market, often highly changeable month to month, while the production of manufactured homes has been on a steady rise since the rebound of Aug. 2011. ##

(Photo credit: reuters)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

New Home Construction Falls to Six Month Low

April 19th, 2016 Comments off

housingwire creditWith weakness in all regions of the country except the Northeast, construction of new homes dropped 8.8 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.09 million units in March, according to what heraldonline tells MHProNews, based on statistics from the Commerce Department. The slowest rate since October, it marked the third decline in the past four months.

Permits to build new homes fell 7.7 percent in March to an SAAR of 1.09 units. Single-family home construction also declined in March, falling 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 764,000. Multi-family construction also dropped in March, falling 7.9 percent to a 325,000 rate, leading to an overall drop of 8.8 percent, the biggest one-month decline since a fall of 11.3 percent in October.

Regionally, construction spiked in the Northeast 61.3 percent in March, while sales plummeted 25.3 percent in the Midwest, 15.7 percent in the West and 8.4 percent in the South. ##

(Image credit: housingwire)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.



New Home Sales Rise Two Percent in Feb.

March 24th, 2016 Comments off

house sold     Paul j richards afp getty imagesBuoyed by the 38.5 percent surge in sales in the West, new home sales in the U. S. increased two percent in Feb. to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 512,000 units, according to statistics released by the Commerce Department, reports USAToday to MHProNews. The strong numbers from the West overshadowed the decline of new home sales in the South, Midwest and Northeast.

At this stage, it is unclear whether new-home sales are plateauing or are still in an uptrend,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U. S. economist at MFR, a forecasting firm.

While sales of new homes are slightly below last year’s pace, purchases of existing homes also fell in Feb., minus 7.1 percent, as the spring home buying season begins. Builder confidence remains the same as the previous month at 58, where any number above 50 indicates builders feel the market is good rather than poor.

The number of new homes priced below $200,000 has fallen, while those homes priced above $400,000 has risen, creating the shortage of affordable housing, a condition that has risen in many markets.

Limited inventory has pushed up prices on existing homes. Median home sales price rose in Feb. to $210,800, a 4.4 percent increase from one year ago. While U. S. homebuilders remain optimistic about the housing market, many anticipate a slow down in sales. ##

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Paul J. Richards)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

High Rents Yield Hard Times for Low/Fixed Income Families

February 8th, 2016 Comments off

rents_rising__dailykos_creditRents have arrived at a historic high, similar to where they were during the housing bubble of 2008, as tells MHProNews, according to statistics from the Commerce Department. The old rule of thumb to never spend more than a third of your income on housing is out the window.

Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin real estate company, said more and more people are spending as much as half their income on housing, and this is not sustainable, especially for seniors on fixed incomes. Responding to questions from Mary Louise Kelly of npr, he added while rents and home prices have been rising, and inventory is low, given the state of the economy builders are not borrowing for large developments. Instead they are focusing on urban infill housing with 20-30 units each.

Although capital is tight and/or developers are unsure of being able to attract inhabitants, finding adequate skilled labor is also a problem, which drives the rents. He said, You’ll see security guards at building sites who aren’t really guarding the lumber. They’re guarding the labor. They’re preventing a recruiter from coming onto the site and taking the whole crew across the street to another place that’s being built for an extra two bucks an hour.”


(Graphic credit: dailykos)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily business News-MHProNews.

Dec. Housing Starts, Permits Fall, but Up for 2015

January 22nd, 2016 Comments off

housing_permit_form__san_jose_ca_govThe National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports housing starts fell 2.5 percent in Dec., 2015 to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.15 million homes, following an upswing in Nov. of 10.1 percent, according to charlotteobserver.

Over the year, housing starts had their best showing since 2007, advancing 10.8 percent, 1.1 million, although 34.6 percent were multifamily, as compared to 20.5 percent multifamily in 2007. The multifamily starts reflect the decline in home ownership, from 69.2 percent in 2000 to the current level of 63.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department informs MHProNews that Dec. building permits dropped 2.9 percent to a SAAR of 1.23 million, but on the year are up 12 percent. Housing starts fell in the Midwest, South and West, but rose 24.7 percent from Nov. to Dec. in the Northeast, likely due to the warmer weather.

As MHProNews reported Jan. 21, 2016, the NAHB home builder sentiment index remained at 60 in Jan., the same as Dec., 2015. Any number above 50 indicates conditions are good. ##

(Image credit: City of San Jose, Calif. form)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

What does collapsing Walmart, other retail sales mean for Manufactured Housing?

January 19th, 2016 Comments off

retail_sales_2015__bloomberg_u_s_commerce_deptRetail sales on the year fell to their lowest pace since 2009, climbing only 2.1 percent for the year, the smallest gain since the Great Recession ended, raising concerns about consumer spending going into 2016. As bloomberg informs MHProNews the 0.1 percent drop in Dec., 2015 followed a gain of 0.4 percent in Nov., and a gain of 3.9 percent for 2014.

The drop included sales of electronics, clothing and grocery store purchases. Clothing sales dropped 0.9 percent, because, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this was the warmest Dec. on record for the contiguous states. The Commerce Department’s report said electronics store sales fell 0.2 percent.

Despite the increase in the jobs market, wages have increased tepidly, leading some economists to believe consumers are leery about the economy, and are saving what they have been putting in their gas tanks. Add to that an uncertainty about who might be the next president, and the ensuing direction of the new administration.

The Labor Department said inflation did not rise at the wholesale level, the producer price index fell 0.2 percent in Dec. from Nov. and one percent from a year ago. Gasoline station revenues fell 1.1 percent in Dec., as the average price of a gallon fell to a seven-year low, below $2. Although auto sales in Dec. registered a 17.2 percent annualized rate, the worst since July, sales on the year came in at a record high of 17.5 million.

Gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 0.3 percent in Dec., the largest decline since Feb., following Nov.’s increase of 0.5 percent.

Same store sales for Nov.-Dec. dropped for Macy’s and Best Buy, but rose for J. C. Penney Co.

Meanwhile, WalMart is closing 269 stores of its 11,000 locations across the globe, 154 of them here in the U. S., and all the Wal-Mart Express stores, which are like a convenience store. Ninety-five percent of those being closed are within ten miles of another Wal-Mart. There are over 5,000 Wal-Marts in the nation.

Representing less than one percent of its global revenue, the closings will begin at the end of the month and will affect 16,000 workers, 10,000 of them in the U. S. Globally, the world’s largest retailer employs 2.2 million, 1.4 million in the U. S.

The company said last Oct. that earnings for the next month may be down 12 percent as it invests in online sales, in competition with Amazon, and improves customers experiences in the stores. The company expects earnings to take a $0.20 to $0.22 hit per share from continuing operations, and $0.19 to $0.20 for Q4, which ends Jan.31, 2016.

No less a figure than Equities LifeStyle Properties Chairman Sam Zell said in an interview on MHProNews that as tragic as a poor economy can be, it is a possible boost for manufactured housing – if the MH industry is pro-active and responds in the right ways. For the interview, click here.

MHProNews and MHLivingNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach weighs in on 17.5 million autos sold in 2015 versus 70,000 manufactured homes. Do click here. ##

Graphic credit: bloomberg/U. S. Commerce Dept.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.