Tag Archive for 'contractors'

Wells Fargo Reports The Ups and Downs of Home Sales


Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoNew Homes Sales Jump 12.4 Percent in July

New home sales took off in July, as strong job growth, low mortgage rates and increased construction brought buyers back in droves. The South accounted for most of the gain, with sales surging 18.1 percent.

Momentum Is Shifting Back Toward New Homes

  • Momentum is finally shifting back toward the new home market, particularly in the South, which has seen job growth surge this past year. Overall sales rose 12.4 percent in July, following a 1.7 percent gain in June. Sales through the first seven months of 2016 are up 12.4 percent from one year ago.
  • Home sales also rose solidly in the Northeast, surging 40 percent in July, and inched 1.2 percent higher in the Midwest.

Home Sales Heat Up in the South

  • While the Northeast posted the largest percentage gain in July, that region accounts for the smallest share of new home sales. The South accounts for well over half of all new home sales and has seen sales and new construction take off this year as job growth and in-migration have strengthened.
  • Home price appreciation moderated in July, likely reflecting the shift in sales to lower priced markets in the South.

New Homes Sales Jump 12.4 Percent in July New Homes Sales Jump 12.4 Percent in July New Homes Sales Jump 12.4 Percent in July New Homes Sales Jump 12.4 Percent in July

Existing Home Sales Stumble in July

Existing home sales fell 3.2 percent in July, following four consecutive monthly gains. Home sales continue to have trouble accelerating, reflecting a lack of inventories, appraisal issues and affordability challenges.

Tight Inventories Restrain Existing Home Sales

Existing home sales fell 3.2 percent in July to a 5.39-million unit annual pace (Top Chart), with sales of single-family homes falling 2.0 percent and sales on condominiums and co-ops tumbling 12.3 percent. Both declines marked the first drops since February.

While sales came in below expectations, the lower figures appear to have more to do with a lack of inventories than they do a lack of demand. Overall sales, which reflect closings, are down 1.6 percent from their year ago level. The number of homes available for sale, however, is down a whopping 5.8 percent from its already historically low level. As a result, homes are selling quickly. The average home stayed on the market for just 36 days and 47 percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than one month.

On a regional basis (Middle Chart), the Northeast saw the sharpest drop, with sales plunging 13.2 percent. Sales fell 5.2 percent in the Midwest and declined 1.8 percent in the South. Sales rose in the West, however, climbing 2.5 percent. The West is home to many of the nation’s hottest housing markets, including Denver, the San Francisco Bay area and Seattle, all of which saw listings remain on the market for a median of just 32 days.

The big drop in the Northeast is likely due to a slowdown in international buyers in New York City. All-cash sales accounted for 21 percent of transactions in July, down from 22 percent in June and 23 percent one year ago. Cash sales, which are primarily investors and international buyers, accounted for the smallest share of overall sales since November 2009. Distressed sales also continued to decline. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for just 5 percent of sales in July, down from 6 percent in June and 7 percent one year ago.

While the overhang of distressed properties has largely cleared the market, the housing crash still casts a large shadow over the housing market, making it difficult for the housing market to rev completely back up. Mortgage underwriting remains stricter than it has in the past and appraisals are often too cautious as well. New home construction has also been slow to come back online, worsening supply constraints.

Moreover, the reluctance of homeowners to put their homes on the market has meant that home prices have risen much faster than income growth, which has reduced housing affordability, particularly in rapidly growing parts of the country such as the West Coast and parts of the Southeast (Bottom Chart). The run-up in home prices has also made it difficult for appraisers to evaluate properties. With many homes selling at or above asking prices, homes are often not appraising at high enough values to qualify for a mortgage, which has led to delays in closings.

Existing Home Sales Post Fourth Straight Monthly Gain Existing Home Sales Post Fourth Straight Monthly Gain Existing Home Sales Post Fourth Straight Monthly Gain

Tom Ewing: Environmental Update

Editors / Directors:

  • It started out as a sleeper but it’s moved close to the top of Regulation.gov’s “what’s trending” list: In June the Coast Guard proposed new anchorage grounds in the Hudson River from Yonkers, NY, upriver to Kingston, about 90 miles. The concerns: navigation safety and traffic flow. At this writing, over 1000 comments are in the docket, presenting a classic tangle about how a working river and freight corridor should be used – or not used, perhaps placed off-limits from activities considered, by some, as too risky and, well, too old-school. This is moving from NIMBY (not in my backyard) to DETAI (don’t even think about it).
  • Bird's-eye_view_of_Hudson_River_from_walkway_5
  • There’s no free lunch: EIA reports that CO2 from natural gas will soon surpass CO2 from coal, because of the big shift in fuel usage. (Proportionately, of course, there’s less CO2 because of the nature of the two fuels.) This raises questions – how long can natural gas bridge from coal and petroleum to _______ ? At last month’s National Petroleum Council meeting DOE Secretary Moniz placed a lot of faith in Big Innovation (his term: “mission innovation”, but it’s gonna have to be big..!) an international effort to double worldwide energy R&D from $15 to $30 billion in the next five years. It takes a lot of work to change the temperature of a planet…
  • Last week, DOE presented its “Federal Alternative Jet Fuels Research and Development Strategy,” an important document, hopefully not too late. It’s from the White House and it’s supposed to coordinate executive agency work. I first saw reference to it in a May, 2014, GAO report. To be honest the lengthy new doc recounts a lot of old work, work that so far hasn’t produced much fuel, just plenty of headlines. (More on this after a closer look.)

Need research/reporting/writing help?

Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing

513-379-5526 voice/text

Voters Feel Nation’s Infrastructure Needs Attention

Baby & GBy:  Greg Sitek

Days are flying by at a record-breaking pace as the presidential candidates race to the finish line in what, in my opinion, is the most vicious campaign since I was first eligible to vote. No, it wasn’t Lincoln vs. Douglas.

There are almost as many issues as there are dollars in our national debt. Among them is our infrastructure. A failing infrastructure is not conducive to growing a strong economy. Both parties recognize this face and have addressed it in campaign rhetoric.

With 90 days left before Election Day, a national poll released recently by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) found that half of registered voters say the nation’s infrastructure has gotten worse over the last five years, and a majority of voters said roads and bridges are in “extreme” need of repair.

The findings were part of a new national poll commissioned by AEM to gauge voter perceptions and attitudes about the current and future state of U.S. infrastructure amid a high-profile election. The poll found that registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, recognize the declining state of the nation’s infrastructure as an issue that should be addressed and believe that the federal government should do more to improve infrastructure across the board.

“Americans across the political spectrum understand the dire state of U.S. infrastructure and believe that the federal government should do more to improve our infrastructure,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “Voters recognized that increased federal funding for assets such as roads, bridges, and inland waterways will have a positive impact on the economy, and they are looking to the federal government to repair and modernize.”

The national poll identified a number of key findings, including:

• Nearly half (46 percent) of registered voters believe that the state of the nation’s infrastructure has gotten worse in the last five years.

• A significant majority (80 – 90 percent) of registered voters say that roads, bridges and energy grids are in some or extreme need of repairs.

• Half (49 percent) of the surveyed population feel that the federal government is primarily responsible for funding repairs to the nation’s infrastructure.

• Seven out of every 10 registered voters say increasing federal funding for infrastructure will have a positive impact on the economy.

• More than eight out of every ten Americans consider water infrastructure (86 percent), solar powered homes (83 percent) and smart infrastructure (82 percent) as the top three important innovations for the future of infrastructure.

• Voters across the political spectrum think that the federal government should do more to improve the nation’s overall infrastructure, with 68 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Independents and 76 percent of Democrats sharing this sentiment.

Registered voters also feel that government across the board should be doing more to improve the nation’s overall infrastructure, with 76 percent of individuals surveyed wanting more from state governments, 72 percent looking to the federal government to do more and 70 percent expecting more from local governments.

“Both presidential nominees have voiced their strong support for infrastructure investment,” says Ron DeFeo, CEO of Kennametal and chairman of AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative. “The specific ideas and proposals they offer over the next 90 days will be critically important, and voters should consider them carefully on Election Day.”

Currently, there are 4.12 million miles of road in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration, including Alaska and Hawaii. The core of the nation’s highway system is the 47,575 miles of Interstate Highways, which comprise just over 1 percent of highway mileage but carry one-quarter of all highway traffic. The Interstates plus another 179,650 miles of major roads comprise the National Highway System, which carries most of the highway freight and traffic in the U.S. Most of the roads in the U.S., 2.94 million miles, are located in rural areas, with the remaining 1.18 million miles located in urban areas. Local governments are responsible for maintaining and improving 3.18 million miles of road or 77.3 percent of the total. State highway agencies are responsible for over 780 thousand miles of road, or 19.0 percent. The federal government is responsible for only 150 thousand miles of road or 3.7 percent, largely roads in national parks, military bases and Indian reservations. Of the 4.07 million miles of road, about 2.68 million miles are paved, which includes most roads in urban areas. However, 1.39 million miles or more than one-third of all road miles in the U.S. are still unpaved gravel or dirt roads. These are largely local roads or minor collectors in rural areas of the country. (Source: Highway Statistics 2013 Table HM-20, HM-10, HM-12, HM-15, VM-202)

You don’t like the way things are going?

Do something about it!


Just because you vote don’t think your job is done. Keep track of your representatives in local, state and federal government.

Remember they work for you. You pay their salaries and benefits, and they are well paid. Make them accountable and communicate with them regularly. It is your country.

Additional information is available at: The Atlantic – Donald Trump’s Big-Spending Infrastructure Dream

FORTUNE – Both Republicans and Democrats Want More Infrastructure Spending Now

The Hill – Poll: Dems, GOP agree infrastructure worsening

AEM – www.aem.org

Site-K Construction Zone http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?p=12782

Washington Report By Sam Quigley

Washington Report

Getting the Most Out of Your Warranty

Most of Your Warranty Most of Your Warranty2