Tag Archive for 'construction industry'

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Wells Fargo Reports: New Home Sales Surge in August to Six-Year High

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoNew home sales spiked 18 percent in August to a 504,000-unit pace with upward revisions to previous months’ data. Much of the increase was concentrated in the Northeast and West. Inventories also rose.

New Home Sales Reach Highest Level Since 2008

 New home sales posted a stronger-than-expected reading in August, jumping 18 percent. The increase was largely due to

sizeable gains in the Northeast and West, which increased 29.2 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Upward revisions to data in the three previous months were a welcome surprise and should alleviate some of the worry around the slower housing recovery. Inventories are up 16 percent over the past year.

New Home Sales Activity Should Continue to Improve

 With sales showing strong gains in the highly-priced Northeast and West, average home prices increased during the month.

Median home prices, however, followed the trend in other price measures, falling 1.6 percent in August. Today’s report corroborates the solid gains in builder sentiment over the past three months. Our outlook remains unchanged for the housing market, and we continue to expect a gradual improvement.

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Wells Fargo Reports: Existing Home Sales Post Surprise Dip in August

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoExisting home sales fell 1.8 percent in August, with a modest downward revision to the previous month’s data.

Despite the decline, underlying data suggest a continued normalization in the housing market.

Downside Surprise in Existing Sales

  • Existing home sales slipped into negative territory in August, following four months of gains. Although the decline was much weaker than expected, the underlying data suggest the housing recovery is still making positive strides. Distressed sales comprised only 8 percent of the total sales compared to 12 percent one year ago. All-cash transactions fell 6 percentage points to 23 percent as investors are less active in the market.

First-Time Home Buyers Still Missing in Action

  • The share of first-time homebuyers remained unchanged at 29 percent in August, but is a tad higher than its year-ago reading.

With household formations below its long-run trend and many young adults still choosing to rent, we will likely not see any meaningful increase in activity until next year. On a regional basis, sales in the South and West fell during the month. Median and average home prices moderated for the second month.

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Wells Fargo Reports: Housing Starts Plunge in August, but Weakness Expected

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoHousing starts plummeted 14.4 percent in August, following an upward revision to the previous month’s data.

The volatile multifamily component fell a whopping 31.7 percent, while single-family was down 2.4 percent.

Starts Drop in August

 Housing starts came in much weaker than expected, posting the sharpest monthly drop since April 2013. Although single-family and multifamily starts fell in August, the weakness was largely due to the volatile multifamily component. August’s drop follows an upwardly revised 22.9 percent increase in July.

 Overall, starts fell in every region, but single-family starts rose in the Northeast and South during the month.

Permits Weak, but Overall Momentum Unchanged

 Permits fell 5.6 percent in August, also with broad-based weakness. Despite the decline, the level of multifamily permits are running ahead of starts, which suggests we could see improvement in this component in the coming months. However, the recent moderation in apartment demand suggests we could be reaching a peak. Year-to-date single-family permits in August are still about the same level as last year.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces 72 TIGER 2014 Recipients
Demand Demonstrates Need for Greater Transportation Investment through GROW AMERICA Act

header-DOT_700x90[1]U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Department of Transportation would provide $600 million for 72 transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia from its TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2014 program.

The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013.  Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9 billion for needed transportation projects.

“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Secretary Foxx.  “We’re building bridges from Maine to Mississippi.  We’re creating ladders of opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to enter the middle-class by investing in transit, road and rail projects from Los Angeles to Detroit to New York City, increasing access to jobs and quality of life.  For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”

Projects funded through this round of TIGER support several key transportation goals: 

Improving Access to Jobs and Creating New “Ladders of Opportunity:  Americans are increasingly challenged by longer travel times, which take away from time on the job and at home.  For those looking for work, unpredictable travel times can make finding work and keeping a job even harder.  This round of TIGER invests in projects designed to cut down on travel times, increase predictability and, in some cases, attract new middle-class jobs into communities.  Examples include:

  • A $24.9 million investment in the construction of a 7.6 mile bus rapid transit line in Richmond will connect transit-dependent residents to jobs and retail centers as well as spur mixed use and transit-oriented development in a city with the highest poverty rate in Virginia.
  • A $15 million TIGER grant will develop a new bus rapid transit spine for Omaha, Neb., dramatically reducing travel time to major employment hubs in the city.  Roughly 16 percent of the households within a quarter of a mile of the proposed bus-rapid transit route do not currently have access to a vehicle.
  • A $20 million TIGER grant will pay for the modernization of Boston’s Ruggles Station, which will include the construction of a new 797-foot long, 12-foot wide high-level passenger platform between the Ruggles Station headhouse and Northeastern University’s Columbus Avenue parking garage.
  • A $10.8 million investment in the Wando Welch Terminal Rehabilitation project in South Carolina will help make structural repairs, strengthen the berth, and make related paving and safety improvements. The TIGER funding will also be used for the installation of jacket repairs for damaged piles.

Reversing neglect by repairing U.S. infrastructure, enhancing quality of life and commerce:

  • The New Route 47 Missouri River Bridge Project will replace the decaying, 78 year-old Route 47 Deck and Warren Truss Bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, MO. A $10 million TIGER grant will be put to use to ensure this vital community and economic link continues to serve not only the people of Franklin and Warren Counties but the region as a whole.  With the bridge nearing the end of its useful life, its age and condition create an on-going need for maintenance, resulting in substantial expense to taxpayers and inconvenience to the public. The project includes doubling the travel way from 22 feet to 44 feet, removing the overhead truss, widening the shoulders and adding separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
  • The Three County Roadway Improvements Program will move forward thanks to a $17.9 million TIGER grant that will help Claiborne County, Mississippi improve motor vehicle transportation reliability and safety in an economically-disadvantaged rural region by creating a fully-connected and safe county transportation system that allows direct movement of citizens and goods from rural areas to local economic points of interest.

Supporting Game-Changing Local Initiatives: The $25 million TIGER grant for the Vision Zero project will bolster New York City’s multi-agency plan to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by redesigning intersections near schools, creating safer pedestrian access to transit and fill a major gap in the city’s protected bicycle lane network that will connect lower-income communities to industrial zones.

Helping communities plan for the future:  An example of a project that is utilizing innovative methodologies to plan for the future is the Land Use Connections for Sustainable Schools project in North Texas that will create a program and implementation plan for a regional working group to promote multimodal transportation options to schools, advance long-term planning for school siting, improve transportation safety near schools and encourage coordination between local governments, independent school districts, and transit agencies within the 12-county area for resource efficiency and sustainability.

The GROW AMERICA Act would authorize $5 billion over four years for much-needed additional TIGER funding to help meet the overwhelming demand for significant infrastructure investments around the country and provide the certainty that states and local governments need to properly plan for investment.  The $302 billion, four year transportation reauthorization proposal would provide increased and stable funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems without contributing to the deficit.  The GROW AMERICA Act also includes several critical program reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal highway, rail, and transit programs.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – including 117 projects to support rural and tribal communities. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country.  Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama on January 17, 2014.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants.

Click here for additional information on the GROW AMERICA Act.

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