Recent reports support an improving housing industry and economic outlook!
Builders broke ground on more homes than forecast in January, helped by warmer weather and adding to signs the U.S. residential real estate market is stabilizing.
Starts rose 1.5% to a 699,000 annual rate from Decemberâ€™s 689,000 pace that was stronger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed Thursday in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a rise to 675,000.
Claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped to the lowest level in 4 years, showing the job market is on the mend.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments decreased 13,000 in the week ended Feb. 11 to 348,000, less than the lowest forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the fewest since March 2008, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. The median survey estimate projected an increase to 365,000.
The slowdown in dismissals coincides with a pickup in hiring and a drop in unemployment thatâ€™s helping repair a labor market still recovering from the 18 month recession that ended in June 2009.
Itâ€™s good news for consumers, meaning stronger income growth and likely rising confidence that will support spending and housing.
The share of homeowners behind on their mortgages fell to the lowest level in three years during 4Q11, offering the latest sign of how recent job market gains has helped heal the battered housing market, according to a report released Thursday.
The survey, released by the Mortgage Bankers Association, showed that 7.6% of residential mortgages were at least 30 days past due on their payments at the end of 2011. That was down from 8.3% one year earlier and from a peak of 10% in early 2010.
Also, I want to share the beliefs of some other organizations:
â€œHousing Market and Economy Showing Encouraging Signs.â€
â€œFrom Bottom Up, Signs of Housing Recoveryâ€
â€œHousing Outlook is More Upbeatâ€
â€œCoreLogicâ€™s chief economist Mark Fleming says housing statistics and the duration of the downturn to date indicate 2012 may be the year the housing market begins to turn the corner.â€
â€œWith the New Year comes a sense of cautious optimism. There are some positive signs in the job market and consumer confidence; housing is starting to raise hopes for continued gradual economic recovery.â€
â€œThe housing sector will likely take incremental steps forward in 2012 â€¦according to economists at Fannie Mae.
Got questions? Ask! email@example.com or 252-489-8491
Hugh â€œScooterâ€ Willey