Privately-owned housing starts in February plummeted 17%, down to an annualized 897,000 from the revised January estimate of 1,081,000, with drops in the Northeast, Midwest and West leading the collapse.
Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 593,000; this is 14.9% below the revised January figure of 697,000.
Multi-family starts are the lowest since June 2014.
“Housing clearly remains under pressure. Increased volatility month to month has left permits and starts little changed from levels reached 12-24 months ago,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist for Sterne Agee. “With consumers struggling amid minimal wage growth, housing is unlikely to be a sizable contribution to headline growth in the near term.
“Nevertheless, the disappointment in this morning’s report only further exacerbates the downward trend in the economic data as of late. Needless to say, the Fed has plenty to discuss at this week’s policy meeting,” she said.
The collapse was dominated by the Northeast which saw a -56.5% drop and in the Midwest, which collapsed -37%.
“There’s no question that the harsh winter we had in the Midwest and Northeast was the culprit in February’s slowdown in new home construction,” said Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield. “I wouldn’t look too much into February’s drop, as the overall housing picture shows homebuilder confidence growing and permits for new construction rising. Look for demand to increase in the coming months.”
The West region, where weather wasn’t a problem, saw starts drop 18.2%.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,092,000. This is 3% above the revised January rate of 1,060,000 and is 7.7% above the February 2014 estimate of 1,014,000.
Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 620,000; this is 6.2% below the revised January figure of 661,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 445,000 in February.
“The big drop in February housing starts was largely due to the severe weather up North. The effects were most severe in the Northeast: Starts fell 56% and completions dropped 29%, the largest declines of any region. There was brighter news around permits,” said Frank Nothaft, senior vice president and chief economist at CoreLogic. “Except for the snow-engulfed Northeast, permits were up in all other regions and for the U.S. as a whole, especially for multifamily, a good sign for spring construction.”
Privately-owned housing completions in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 850,000. This is 13.8% below the revised January estimate of 986,000 and is 1.8% below the February 2014 rate of 866,000.
With so many fists beating on the housing-is-facing-ruin door, Altos Research is set to release data that claims all that pounding is in vain.
Clients will begin receiving a report Wednesday afternoon, but HousingWire was able to get a sneak peek, and the results say that housing recovery critics are wrong about housing. According to Altos, it’s going to soar in 2015.
“While we see signs of demand easing, we are significantly more bullish on housing than many of the recent headlines seem to suggest,” said Altos CEO Michael Simonsen. “Based on our models, we’re forecasting another year of home price appreciation, with a 7% home price increase for the year of 2015.”
Single-digit appreciation is a remarkable prediction. Many other experts anticipate depreciation in the nation’s housing market, so the Altos call is relatively noteworthy.
What’s driving the negative stand most of the market holds? The media is partially to blame, the report states.
Bearish Headlines, Bullish Reality
In the section titled, “Bearish Headlines, Bullish Reality,” the researchers state their case this way:
One year ago, Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Report, released by online real estate aggregator Trulia, found it was 44% cheaper to buy a house than to rent. Today, the gap has narrowed, due in part to rising interest rates and home prices. The newest edition of the report finds that buying a home is now 38% cheaper than renting. The report compares costs for a seven-year period using five calculations:
- The average rent and sale prices for an identical set of properties;
- The initial total monthly costs of owning (assuming 20% down and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.5% interest, as well as annual maintenance, insurance, utility, and property tax expenses) and renting (monthly rent plus renter’s insurance);
- The future total monthly costs of owning and renting;
- One-time costs and proceeds (for owning, this includes closing costs and capital gains tax of 15% for gains above the $500,000 annual exclusion; for renting, this includes one month’s security deposit); and
- The net present value to account for opportunity cost of money (this compares cash flows over time).
According to the report, homeownership remains cheaper across the nation and in all of the 100 largest metro markets. However, these findings speak broadly to the national market, and there are several situations where it still makes more sense to rent. Here, we look at some of the reasons why it’s a good time to buy for many Americans, and circumstances when it might make more sense to rent.
Reasons to Buy
Peggy Jennings, a Broker/Realtor with Prudential Great Smokys Realty in Sylva, North Carolina, cites favorable interest rates, good inventory and relaxed loan requirements as good reasons to buy now. “Interest rates are still good. The inventory is improving as more people are deciding it’s time to sell. There’s going to be a lot of good inventory coming up, especially since the foreclosures from a couple years ago are now rehabbed and ready to sell,” says Jennings.
Rain is expected to fall much of the day across Westchester County, but as temperatures drop, it will turn to snow late Wednesday as yet another winter storm makes its way to the Northeast, the National Weather Service said.
Westchester will be spared the wrath of the storm, which is expected to drop as much as 18 inches of snow across northern New England.
The storm will begin as rain Wednesday, mainly after 4 p.m., with about a quarter of an inch possible. High temperatures will approach 50 degrees.
Rain and snow showers are expected Wednesday evening, becoming all snow after midnight. Some thunder is also possible.
Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible in Northern Westchester. Less than half an inch is expected in Central and Southern Westchester.
Temperatures will drop into the mid-teens overnight with blustery southeast winds of 13 to 18 mph becoming northwest at 19 to 24 mph after midnight.
Dutchess County is under a Winter Weather Advisory from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 11 a.m. Thursday. The warning does not extend as far south as Westchester County. But it warns of sleet and freezing rain as well as a flash freeze overnight as temperatures fall.
Are you sharing your stories with your fans?
Do you use pictures in your social marketing?
People want pictures in their social channels.
When done right, these pictures become visual stories.
In this article, I’ll show you how five brands are using pictures to share their stories and why that’s important.
Great Marketers Are Great Storytellers
As a marketer, you know the importance of stories, but do you know how to tell a story with few or no words at all?
“We’ve now entered a phase in which visual communication is supplanting the written word,” says Bob Lisbonne, CEO of Luminate and former SVP of Netscape.” Some are now calling it the dawn of the Imagesphere.”
Our brains process pictures 60,000 times faster than text. When your brand shares a picture, your fans decide in a split second whether they want to see more.
These channels help you tell stories that create engagement, build communities and ultimately help nurture brand loyalty and long-term relationships with customers.
Below I’ll show you how five brands are using visual stories to engage their audiences.
|Mt Kisco NY Weekly Real Estate Report||2/27/2014|
|Homes for sale||38|
|Median Ask Price||$750,000.00|
|Average Ask Price||$1,059,995.00|
Location: Old Westbury, N.Y. Price: $6,475,000 The Skinny: Designed by Ulrich Franzen in 1977, this Long Island home combines two completely disparate styles, because, hey! What goes together better than Brutalism and a historic 19th-century country estate? Actually, anything, really, as this interesting but somewhat jarring design makes crystal clear. Franzen, champion of blockiness that he was, demolished the original home except for the salon and drawing room, and then built a brick monolith and connecting structure which looks for all the world like it’s devouring the old estate. The grounds (which were designed by Frederick Olmsted) were also preserved, but the graceful curving lawn and the blocky new home are an awkward fit, with neither truly complementing the other. It’s not that the home—which is asking $6.475M—is awful: it’s a perfectly nice Brutalist residence. But all parties involved may have been better served if the teardown of the original, once started, had been completed.