Single-Family Housing Starts Edge Down

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, residential starts nationwide were down 5 percent in June compared with the pervious month. But by combining the single-family and multifamily statistics, the government puts the wild-card figures of multifamily development (volatile, the economists call it) with the more stable single-family figures, distorting both of them.

July 21, 2010
By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user pdz_house

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, residential starts nationwide were down 5 percent in June compared with the previous month. But by combining the single-family and multifamily statistics, the government puts the wild-card figures of multifamily development (volatile, the economists call it) with the more stable single-family figures, distorting both of them.

Single-family starts in June were at an annualized rate of 454,000, only 0.7 percent down from May. Multi-family starts, on the other hand, represented most of the decline in overall housing starts, dropping 19.3 percent between May and June.

The expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit knocked the wind out of the housing market, seemingly even in the mid-term, since single-family building permits were down 3.4 percent between May and June to an annualized rate of 421,000 units. More multifamily units were permitted in June than May, however–20.8 percent more, to an annualized rate of 145,000 units.

Unemployment Down in States as Job-Seekers Quit Seeking Jobs

The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Tuesday that the jobless rate dropped in 39 states and the District of Columbia between May and June, with the remainder of the states either static or experiencing an uptick. Nevada retained its distinction, won only this May, of most unemployed state in the union with 14.2 percent. Michigan, longtime champ in the contest that no state wants to win, has the second-highest rate (13.2 percent).

Since June 2009, Nevada’s unemployment rate has increase by 2.3 percentage points, the most of any state. The largest year-over-year improvement in unemployment–that is, the rate going down–belonged to Minnesota, with a 1.6 percentage point drop since this time last year, to the current rate of 6.8 percent.

The unfortunate thing about the overall drop in most states’ unemployment numbers is that the declines were largely because a lot of unemployed people stopped looking for work. Only 21 states saw actually job gains in June.

CMBS Begins Slow Recovery

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources, that some of the largest banks — JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup — are preparing to offer a total of $1.4 billion worth of CMBS in the next few weeks.

Is CMBS making a comeback, however meager? Could be. The entire volume of commercial securitization was only $1.4 billion in 2009, but this year it could be as much as $10 billion.

Wall Street nearly had a down day on Tuesday, but bounced upward by the closing bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 75.53 points, or 0.74 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 1.14 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.1 percent.