New homes surged in April, a sign that builders are stepping up as demand for housing remains robust.
Sales soared 16.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was the biggest monthly jump in 24 years and trounced estimates of a 525,000 pace.
The median price also jumped, rising 9.7% from 12 months ago to $321,100.
The big increase in sales took supply sharply lower. At the current pace, it would take 4.7 months to exhaust all inventory.
March numbers were revised up to a 531,000 annual pace. The April figures were 23.8% higher compared to a year ago.
Regional performance was mixed, from a 52.8% surge in the Northeast to a 4.8% decline in the Midwest. The South saw a 15.8% increase, while in the West sales were up 18.8%.
Demand for housing has run much hotter than supply for the past few years, in part because home builders have been reluctant to ramp up to the brisk level of activity they enjoyed before the recession.
HUD AND CENSUS BUREAU ANNOUNCE NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY IN APRIL
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Census Bureau jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for April 2016:
Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,116,000. This is 3.6 percent (±1.3%) above the revised March rate of 1,077,000, but is 5.3 percent (±1.3%) below the April 2015 estimate of Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 736,000; this is 1.5 percent (±0.8%) above the revised March figure of 725,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 348,000 in April.
Privately owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,172,000. This is 6.6 percent (±10.2%)* above the revised March estimate of 1,099,000, but is 1.7 percent (±10.1%)* below the April 2015 rate of 1,192,000. Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 778,000; this is 3.3 percent (±12.1%)* above the revised March figure of 753,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 373,000.
Privately owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 933,000. This is 11.0 percent (±12.3%)* below the revised March estimate of 1,048,000 and is 7.4 percent (±10.6%)* below the April 2015 rate of 1,008,000. Single-family housing completions in April were at a rate of 691,000; this is 3.6 percent (±12.6%)* below the revised March rate of 717,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 232,000
The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector reached another post-Great Recession high in March.
According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) increased to 210,000 in March. The current estimate represents the highest monthly count of job openings since May 2007.
The open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for March was 3%, also a cycle high. On a three-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 2.7%.
The overall trend for open construction jobs has been an increasing since the end of the Great Recession. This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders.
The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a three-month moving average basis, was effectively unchanged in March at 4.9%. In contrast, the quits rate for construction increased significantly in March, rising to a 2.4% rate. This bears watching in the months ahead as it may signal that employers are having trouble retaining existing workers given tight labor market conditions.
Monthly employment data for April 2016 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that home builders and remodelers hiring stalled in April, falling by 3,800. However the recent hiring pace remains stronger than the second half of 2015. The current 6-month moving average of jobs gains for residential construction is just under 19,000.
Residential construction employment now stands at 2.590 million, broken down as 728,000 builders and 1.86 million residential specialty trade contractors.
Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have added 141,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 603,800 positions.
In April, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined significantly to just under 6% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for the construction occupation had been on a general decline since reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010.
New York brokers love to win, and only the most talented and dedicated hustlers thrive. The firms that employ them are no different, fighting borough-by-borough, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, building-by-building and unit-by-unit in hopes of locking down as many of the listings as possible, and crushing their competition.
The Real Deal compared top brokerages citywide in its May issue, but those results tell only part of story. To get the view from the trenches, TRD drove into active sales listing data — both resales and new development — from On-Line Residential to determine which brokerages were winning which Manhattan neighborhoods.
Douglas Elliman, by far the city’s largest brokerage with over 2,000 agents in Manhattan, fully topped the charts in six of the seven neighborhoods TRD analyzed (those with the largest number of total sales listings). It dominated some – for example Tribeca, where it had a striking 42 percent market share – but just squeaked by in others, such as the Upper East Side, where it beat rival Corcoran Group / Corcoran Sunshine by just five listings of a total 1,150, or about 0.3 percent of the submarket.
The two Corcoran firms, with a combined 1,100 agents in Manhattan — had a strong showing on the Upper West Side – the second largest neighborhood by listings, with 601 – where it had a solid 24 percent market share on 146 total listings, compared to a 17 percent share on 103 listings for Elliman.
Elsewhere though, the Corcoran brokerages were mostly forced to settle for second place. Only in Hell’s Kitchen did a third firm break into the top two slots. River to River Realty, which is based in the neighborhood, had 47 listings, or 19 percent of the submarket.
Still, the firm put up a stiff challenge to Elliman overall, considering its far lower agent count. Corcoran – which does more new development business than its rival, and also has a stronger presence in Brooklyn – also performed better in neighborhoods with more total listings, while Elliman dominated less active areas.
The competition for third place highlighted a more diverse set of players, with seven different firms appearing in each of the seven third place slots. Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property showed in the largest two neighborhoods by listings, the Upper East and Upper West Sides, with market shares of 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates falling for the third consecutive week following disappointing April employment data. Mortgage rates are at their low point for the year.
Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.
“Disappointing April employment data once again kept a lid on Treasury yields, which have struggled to stay above 1.8 percent since late March. As a result, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 4 basis points to 3.57 percent, a new low for 2016 and the lowest mark in 3 years. Prospective homebuyers will continue to take advantage of a falling rate environment that has seen mortgage rates drop in 14 of the previous 19 weeks.”
The city that used to be second is staging something of a comeback, at least as far as home sales are concerned.
Chicagonow.com reports this: After a weak March and several other months of languishing sales activity the Chicago real estate market came roaring back in April with the highest home sales in 9 years and the largest year over year gain in 9 months. Check out the graph below to see these numbers in their historic context. All the April data points are flagged in red and the blue line is a 12 month moving average. However, that blue line is still not quite flashing an upward trend again.
April Chicago home sales were up a whopping 10.1% over last year but when the Illinois Association of Realtors announces the official numbers in a little less than 2 weeks they are going to report it as a 7.9% increase.