Wells Fargo Reports: Housing Starts Disappoint in July

Housing starts fell 4.8 percent to a 1.16 million-unit pace in July. Weakness was largely concentrated in multifamily, which fell 15.3 percent, while single-family slipped 0.5 percent. Permits fell 4.1 percent.

Single-Family Starts Better Than Monthly Print Implies

At first glance, today’s housing starts report appears to extend a weak string of monthly reports only interrupted by the downwardly-revised gain in June. Moreover, given the ebullient builder sentiment reading yesterday, weakness in housing starts and permits during the month is a bit confounding. Indeed, housing starts have fallen in five of the last six months. However, much of the weakness has been in the multifamily component, which should not be surprising given slowing fundamentals.

To illustrate, starts are down 5.6 percent relative to a year earlier, but all of the weakness is concentrated in multifamily (5+units) which fell 35.2 percent in July, while single-family was up almost 11 percent. We find a similar trend with permits, which are forward-looking. On a year-ago basis, overall permits are up 4.1 percent, but the gain is in single-family and multifamily units with 2-4 units, while five or more units is down.

At the same time, builder sentiment jumped 4 points in August to 68, which is in line with the six-month moving average, with all components registering gains during the month. In our National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index write up released yesterday, we noted that single-family starts have not advanced as much as the still- elevated level of builder sentiment likely reflecting the shortage of lots and overall construction costs including labor. That said, the producer price index shows that inputs to residential construction rose 2.5 percent year- over-year in July, outpacing inflation. The shortage of labor is also putting upward pressure on construction costs and can be seen in average hourly earnings in the residential component.

Looking Ahead: The Residential Story Is Unchanged

For starters, residential lending standards are still supportive of the sector.
On net, senior loan officers reported that standards for all residential real estate lending categories eased or were unchanged in Q2, while demand for most segments remained strong. Consistent with lending standards, loan growth for single-family residential (1-4 units) grew more than 11 percent in Q1 relative to a year earlier, which is more or less consistent with the pace of construction and land development loan growth. Lending for multifamily loans remained largely unchanged during the quarter.

Multifamily housing units (5+ units) completed, which reflect deliveries, were up almost 7 percent year-over-year in July. Much of the supply is still in luxury units. We continue to expect multifamily completions to peak this year, which should level off the recent moderation in asking rent growth.

The residential component of architecture billings, which is mostly apartments, jumped to its highest level in almost a year in June, intimating there is some upside.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce and Wells Fargo Securities

Products At Work: The GOMACO 3300 paver is slipforming curb and gutter off the right side in Clarksville, Arkansas

This three-track GOMACO 3300 paver is slipforming curb and gutter in Clarksville, Arkansas. The GOMACO 3300 has a symmetrical design that allows for paving off the left-side and right-side. This machine is set up for right-side pour and is now being converted to pour eight foot (2.4 meter) sidewalk. This 3300 also features a folding conveyor for transport.


Photos By Kelly Krueger, GOMACO Corporation

3300 – The World’s Most Intelligent Multi-Application Paver Designed for Right-Side and Left-Side Pour

  • The world’s most intelligent multi-application paver.

– Smart Front Pivot Arms for leg positioning reference for G+®control.
– Smart Power-Slide on rear leg for positioning reference for G+ control.
– Extreme Steering capabilities with hydraulic rotational drives.
– Smart Leg Positioning and Smart Steering provide correct steering angles through a radius.
– Sensored Radial Steering on all tracks for automatic directional control.
– Smart Telescoping Mold mounting system for reference to G+ control for repeatable mold offset.
– G+ ConnectTM for 3D guidance systems and accessories.

  • Designed for right-side and left-side pour.

– Symmetrical configuration for paving on either side.
– U-shaped operator’s platform for right-side and left-side operation and ultimate operator visibility.
– Sliding console for operating off either side and locks out of sight when not in use.
– 20 foot (6.1 m) conveyor with four-way hydraulic positioning for loading the hopper on right-side or left-side.
– Folding conveyor reduces transport length.

  • Load-sensed hydraulics for maximum performance and optimized for fuel efficiency.
  • GOMACO Hook-and-Go mold mounting system for quick mold changes.
  • All-Track Steering for tight radius work and job-site mobility.
  • Tier 4 ready.
  • G+ quiet running technology.
  • Isolated operator’s platform for operator comfort.
  • Sideshifting trimmerhead and mold.
  • Vertical adjusting trimmerhead and mold.

Download The 3300 Slipform Paver Brochure (PDF)

More on the 3300 Slipform Paver.

Wells Fargo Reports: Homebuilder Confidence Jumps in August

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose 4 points in August to 68. Rising demand for new homes pushed the future sales index up 5 points to 78, back to its post-recession high.

Demand for New Homes Strengthens in August

  •   Homebuilder confidence rose solidly in August, as more homebuilders reported improving sales and strengthening demand in general.
  •   The present sales index rose 4 points to 74, which is precisely even with its average for the past six months. The future sales index climbed 5 points to 78 and is back at its post-recession high. Builders are selling homes as fast as they can build them.

Low Inventories Continue to Limit Sales

  •  Single-family starts have not risen nearly as much as builder confidence has, reflecting the greater difficulty builders are having obtaining lots and labor relative to past cycles.
  •  The lack of new construction is apparent in prospective buyer traffic, which remains below past highs. Builders have far fewer model homes today than they did in the past and little finished inventory, making for difficult comparison with prior cycles.

AEM Poll: Rural-Urban Agreement on Need for Infrastructure Investment

An overwhelming majority of Americans in urban, suburban and rural communities believe that investing in infrastructure will improve the U.S. economy according to a new poll released Tuesday by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers(AEM).

While infrastructure needs differ in different parts of the country, the new survey shows that adults strongly support modernizing U.S. infrastructure and believe that investments will create jobs and improve their quality of life.

“The findings underscore the fact that infrastructure connects rural and urban America – both literally and physically,” said AEM president Dennis Slater. “America’s infrastructure was once the envy of the world, but after years of underinvestment, our infrastructure and connectivity between rural and urban America have deteriorated considerably. This is one of the areas rural and urban Americans agree on today – that we must modernize and rebuild our infrastructure to reclaim the infrastructure advantage we once had.”

The national poll identified a number of key findings, including

  • An overwhelming majority (89 percent) of all adults believe that investments in infrastructure will strengthen the U.S. economy, including eighty-six (86) percent of urban and eighty-nine (89) percent of rural Americans.
  • More than eight out of every ten adults (82 percent) agree that investments in infrastructure will increase the number of jobs in their communities, with eighty-four (84) percent of suburban, eighty-two (82) percent of urban and eighty (80) percent of rural Americans sharing this belief.
  • Americans across the country agree that investments in infrastructure will improve their quality of life (81 percent). This sentiment is equally strong in suburbs or towns (82 percent), cities (80 percent) and rural America (79 percent).

Read the full polling memo here.

“It is time for Congress and the administration to listen to the American people and rebuild our infrastructure, spur economic growth and accelerate job creation as a result,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM vice president of public affairs and advocacy.

Respondents also identified transportation, construction and manufacturing as the top industries poised to benefit most from increased infrastructure investment. Thirty (30) percent of all Americans pointed to manufacturing as one of the three primary beneficiaries of increased spending on infrastructure, a figure that rises among Midwesterners (34 percent) and rural Americans (34 percent).

The poll also found that a third of Americans (33 percent) believe that investing in broadband and wireless connectivity would most likely benefit their ability to access educational and workforce training resources.

The findings support recommendations made in a recently released report by AEM called The U.S. Infrastructure Advantage (TM). The report emphasizes the importance of the United States reclaiming its infrastructure advantage in order to maintain its global economic dominance. The report also highlights several areas in which infrastructure, such as surface transportation and broadband, provide critical links between urban and rural communities and economies.

About the Survey

AEM conducted the poll in partnership with YouGov through its online omnibus survey. The survey was fielded to 3,481 U.S. adults, including 667 adults who self-identify as living in a rural area. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all American adults (18+). Fieldwork was conducted between July 26 and July 28, 2017.

New BlastMetriX UAV Improves Blast Design and Analysis by Quickly Capturing Accurate 3D Face Profile Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The new BlastMetriX UAV program from 3GSM GmbH allows quarries and mining operations to take advantage of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology to quickly, safely an accurately capture three-dimensional face profiles for enhanced visualization of the blast area. The flexible system is the right tool for surveying large blast sites and does not require the use of propriety UAVs. This allows operations to use existing drones in their fleet or locally source drone equipment to take surveying images.

The system requires only the use of aerial targets or the standard BlastMetriX 3D targets as reference points. The low-flying UAV captures multiple data-rich overlapping images to generate hundreds of thousands of data points for accurately characterizing typography of the surveyed area and creating a three-dimensional profile of the face to ensure blast safety and performance.

New users can order a standalone BlastMetriX UAV system that includes all necessary software for UAV surveying and blast design. Alternatively, existing BlastMetriX 3D users only require a simple software upgrade to quickly integrate the usage of UAVs into the surveying capability. It gives operations the flexibility to conduct surveys using either aerial multi-photo images captured by the UAV or terrestrial images from a calibrated digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. This enables surveying operations to continue regardless of no-fly-zone restrictions or inclement weather.

Since BlastMetrix UAV does not rely on Cloud data storage, all surveying and blast design work can be efficiently managed in the field. All captured images are downloaded directly to the computer, allowing BlastMetriX users to efficiently produce a blast design. The designed blast can be georeferenced and data sent directly to smart drills, improving drilling accuracy and driving down costs.

The BlastMetriX UAV system gives technicians the confidence the blast will perform as designed to mitigate flyrock issues, high air overpressures, excessive vibration, poor fragmentation, subpar cast, loss of grade control and wall damage. As a result of blast design optimization using BlastMetriX UAV, operations can realize significant benefits including improved fragmentation, higher crusher throughput and lower drilling manpower requirements.

The new BlastMetriX UAV system gives operations advanced analytical tools for measuring blast performance, so programs can be optimized. BlastMetriX UAV offers pre/post blast comparisons, pre/post excavation reporting, muckpile quanitifcation – movement, volume and swell – and power trough analysis.

The scalable BlastMetriX UAV software allows companies to integrate as much or as little technology as required. Its capabilities can be expanded to meet an operation’s growing needs. Professional service, support and training of program use are provided by RAM, Inc. of Powell, Ohio. Additionally, RAM, Inc. conducts UAV ground schools to teach operators how to fly UAVs, prepare students for taking the FAA 107 pilot’s test and to help operations maximize use of UAV surveying technology.

About RAM, Inc.

An international blast engineering and consulting firm, RAM, Inc., focuses on improving productivity and safety through blast optimization, advanced technical services and training. RAM, Inc., offers a wide range of services, including Explosives Educational Services – offering the most up to date training seminars in the explosives industry – and Explosives Technical Services – providing innovative advanced technical engineering, project management, training, safety services and solutions, blast design and explosives applications for regulatory, mining, civil, military and seismic operations worldwide.

www.ramets.com                                             info@ramets.com

About 3GSM GmbH

3GSM develops and markets easy-to-use systems for generating three-dimensional images of rock and terrain surfaces for assessments and surveying. Available for both surface and underground mining, 3GSM systems cut mapping time, deliver outstanding and reproducible results, and lead to an objective data basis for the planning and construction of subsurface and surface rock mass excavation and construction. The full 3GSM product portfolio includes BlastMetriX 3D, BlastMetriX UAV, ShapeMetrix 3D, ShapeMetriX UAV and ShapeMetriX TBM.

www.3gsm.at                                                  office@3gsm.at