Content about Department of Commerce

September 19, 2014

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) pointed to a significant milestone for builder confidence, which reached its highest level since November 2005 this month.

Confidence in the market for new, single-family homes reached 59 in September, a four-point gain since August.

[The news followed shortly after the Commerce Department reported August housing starts fell sharply from the prior month.]

August 13, 2014

After several months of increases, U.S. retail sales fell flat in July as motor vehicles and parts sales fell 0.2%.

The Commerce Department reported advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales of $439.8 billion, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences. This compares to a preliminary estimate of $439.9 billion last month, though July's figure is up 3.7% year-over-year.

Additionally, total sales for the May through July 2014 period were up 4.2% over last year.

April 23, 2014

New home sales took it on the chin in March.

According to the Commerce Department, sales of new single-family homes reached their lowest level since last July, dropping 14.5% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000.

This is also 13.3% down from year-ago levels, which is the largest year-over-year decline since April 2011.

The median sales price for new houses sold in March was $290,000, with the average sales price hitting slightly higher at $334,200.

January 27, 2014

Sales of new single-family homes declined 7.0% in December, down from November’s revised rate of 445,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000.

The annual story, however, is one of double-digit gains, according to the data released Monday by the Commerce Department. An estimated 428,000 new homes were sold in 2013. That marks a 16.4% increase over the 2012 figure of 368,000.

December 19, 2013

Housing starts were back at a million-plus pace in November, as Commerce Department stats reflected the healthiest residential construction industry since the Great Recession began. 

In its regular analysis of the number, the National Association of Home Builders piled on the good news by pointing to surveys that show builders are increasingly confident that buyers are getting off the bench and into the game. 

December 10, 2013

Why is it taking so long for the Commerce Department to estimate housing starts?

Here we are in December, and the latest available stats date all the way back to August, when the Bureau’s estimate for total housing starts came in at a disappointing seasonally adjusted annual rate of 883,000.

July 30, 2013

On July 16, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index posted its strongest reading since January 2006.

On the following day came the Commerce Department's residential construction numbers — a disappointing 9.9% decline in the pace of housing starts nationwide.

July 18, 2013

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says builders are being careful to avoid getting "ahead of the market."

The builders group made the comment after the Commerce Department reported a 9.9% decline in nationwide housing starts for the month of June. 

July 17, 2013

The Commerce Department's residential construction report released Wednesday morning showed an unexpected downturn for housing starts.

Housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 836,000. That's down 9.9% from the upwardly revised May estimate. Compared with a year ago, however, June starts were up 10.4%. 

May's starts figure was revised upward from 914,000 to 928,000. Analysts had expected a June figure above 950,000. 

June 26, 2013

Housing metrics are having a good week, as new home sales rose and the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index set a record monthly gain. 

According to the Commerce Department, new-home sales rose 2.1% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000 new homes. The figure marks the highest level since July 2008.

June 18, 2013

Housing starts for the month of May rose 6.8% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000, according to data released Tuesday morning by the Commerce Department. The revised April estimate stood at 856,000. 

The May total is 28.6% above the May 2012 rate of 711,000.

Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 599,000, which is 0.3% above the revised April figure of 597,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 306,000. 

May 16, 2013

Residential construction data released today shows the lowest figures for housing starts in five months. Permits, however, were up.

Housing starts fell back below a million. In fact, they’re well below a million.

Data released Thursday morning by the Commerce Department shows total housing starts for April at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000, down 16.5% from the March figure.

Analysts expected a decline -- but not that much. Expectations were for an SAAR of about 970,000. 

Things weren’t that much better in the single-family metric, which showed April starts at a rate of 610,000, down 2.1% from the March rate.

April 16, 2013

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new residential construction in March reached the highest level since June 2008.

Housing starts are back above 1 million.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new residential construction surged to 1.036 million in March, according to data released Tuesday morning by the Commerce Department. That's 7.0% above last month's pace, and a whopping 46.7% ahead of the pace from March 2012, when starts were stalled at 706,000.

January 17, 2013

Housing starts in December increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000.

The million-starts mark is within sight, as residential construction stands at its highest level since June 2008.

December 19, 2012

It wasn't the blockbuster, early Christmas present that construction industry executives were secretly wishing for, but the housing starts report for November at least delivered another big increase over the year-ago figure. 

The Department of Commerce's New Residential Construction Report for November showed housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That's 3.0% below the downwardly revised October estimate of 888,000, but 21.6% above the November 2011 rate of 708,000.

October 19, 2012

Chicago – The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) Fall Conference kicked off just a few minutes after the Commerce Department released data showing a 15% increase in September housing starts

October 15, 2012

A report released Monday by the Commerce Department showed that retail sales in the U.S. climbed more than anticipated in September, boosted by unexpected increases in household spending.

Sales advanced 1.1% in September, on the heels on a 1.2% increase in August that was the biggest since October 2010. The median forecast of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.8% rise in September.

October 2, 2012

Construction spending during August 2012 fell slightly compared with July, according to the Department of Commerce, which estimated a 0.6% dip in a seasonally adjusted annual rate. The August figure is 6.5% above the August 2011 estimate.

During the first eight months of this year, construction spending rose 9.0% higher than the same period in 2011.

August 16, 2012

Housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 746,000 in July, down 1.1% from the revised June estimate of 754,000, according to the Residential Construction report from the Commerce Department. This is 21.5% above the July 2011 rate of 614,000. 

August 14, 2012

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) weighed in the Commerce Department’s monthly sales figures, which showed a return to positive numbers.

Monthly retail sales figures for July totaled $403.9 billion, an increase of 0.8% over the previous month, and 4.1% over July 2011.

May 16, 2012

Housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 in April, up 2.6% from the upwardly revised March figure, and up almost 30% from April 2011.

The April Residential Construction from the Commerce Department report showed surprisingly strong housing starts combined with a decline in housing permits -- just the opposite of the March 2012 report. In April, building permits declined 7.0% to a rate of 715,000, after hitting a three-year high in March.

April 25, 2012

In a victory for foreign-based manufacturers, the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that LG Electronics and its affiliates were not guilty of “dumping” certain refrigerator models on the U.S. market. The 5-0 vote ended a year-old investigation initiated by Whirlpool, which claimed that bottom-mount refrigerators made in Mexico and Korea were sold in the United States at below market value.

April 17, 2012

Residential construction data from the Commerce Department released Tuesday morning shows housing starts declined 5.8% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000. But building permits were the strongest since September 2008.

Single-family housing starts held steady at 462,000, compared with 463,000 in February.

March 20, 2012

Commerce Department data released Tuesday morning show February housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 698,000.

There’s good news and bad news in Tuesday’s data.

February starts declined 1.1% compared with the upwardly revised January figure. And single-family starts declined 9.9% to a rate of 457,000. The total-starts figure fell below expectations, as analysts expected about 710,000. 

February 16, 2012

Residential construction in January was healthier than expected.

Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000, up 1.5% from 689,000 in December, according to data released Thursday morning by the Department of Commerce. But more encouraging: The January rate is up 9.9% from the same month a year ago.

Most analysts were looking for a figure anywhere from 645,000 to 671,000 for the month of January.