Housing Starts (January 2013)
Starts – seasonally adjusted, annualized 890,000. Previous was 973,000. The data was at the bottom of the consensus range.
Permits – seasonally adjusted, annualized 925,000. Previous was 909,000.
“Starts” are in units. Construction of a 20 unit apartment building equals 20 Starts. The multifamily component fell 24.1% in January after a 34.7% increase in December.
Housing Starts should be close to 1.5 million/year in order to keep pace with population growth assuming that the headship ratio (number of occupants/unit) remains constant.
MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 2/15/2013)
Purchase Index – Week/Week -2.0%. Previous was -10.0%
Refinance Index – Week/Week -2.0%. Previous was -6.0%
Composite Index – Week/Week -1.7%. Previous was -6.4%.
The only good news here is that the bad news was not as bad as the previous week.
Taken together, these two surveys and yesterday’s 1 point dip in the Homebuilders survey index indicate that the rebound in housing has taken a break. Higher rates and higher prices are contributory.
PPI (January 2013)
PPI Month/Month +0.2% PPI Year/Year 1.4%
PPI Core (less food & energy) Month/Month +0.2%
PPI Core (less food & energy) Year/Year 1.8%
Inflation remains acceptably contained. Let’s reserve judgment until CPI comes out tomorrow.
Chain Store Sales (week ended 2/16/2013)
ICSC-Goldman Store Sales
Store Sales – Week/Week 2.7 %.
Previous was -2.5% Store Sales – Year/Year +1.8 %. Previous was 2.1%.
Store Sales Year/Year +3.1%. Previous week’s year/year was +2.4%.
The difference between the two Chain Store Sales reports is a result of the fact that they are calculated in very different manners.
The Consumer Metrics Index of discretionary online shopping which is a very sensitive and near real time leading indicator has been increasing for the past 10 days.