Tuesday, August 23, 2011
New Home Sales Couldn't Get Lower
Sales of new single-family houses in July 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 0.7 percent (±12.9%)* below the revised June rate of 300,000, but is 6.8 percent (±13.5%)* above the July 2010 estimate of 279,000.We need to get about to the 400,000 mark before changes in these numbers can mean much! For what it's worth, we are also testing the limits of numerical precision in GDP numbers again. Did the US economy contract in the first or second quarter? It's possible!
In the West, lower income trends will force future housing trends towards greater neighborhood density and improved public transportation.
I wouldn't bet on those trends continuing longer than five to ten more years. I doubt everybody's going to end up living in apartment blocks.
There is a certain subset of the population that not only likes living cheek and jowl with neighbors, but prides themselves on doing so. They are many fewer than those who do not, but they dominate politics in cities.
The results are left as an exercise....
New jobs and income are in the 'burbs. Fuel prices won't continue to skyrocket forever, except possibly for relatively brief panic spikes. $5 a gallon gasoline is enough to make an incredible variety of efficiency-increasing technologies economically feasible. Not to mention making vast new oil reserves economically and politically viable. Both outcomes would lower the "natural" price of oil.
You're talking about trends, so I'm looking at trend change.
Jobs go where it is cheapest to locate them, and that isn't necessarily in inner-urban areas.
It seems to me that is one of the big factors - we change jobs relatively often and working couples don't necessarily find jobs located in the same area, which makes for some long commutes no matter where you are.
Urban costs of living total can be very high.
It's not uncommon for a family to live in the northwest, mom to work in the southwest, and dad to work in the northeast, both with 50-mile commutes. And our billion-dollar per segment light rail system won't help, because the urbanists demand that it travels to and from the city centers, rather than burb-to-burb (that way, inner-city traffic can be screwed up to the maximum extent).
I think a lot of people got in those houses before they appreciated, and others rode the bubble up to get in.
But from scratch? Nah.
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