The US and Phoenix Real Estate Markets are Improving … Slowly But Surely

It was a good week for the U.S. economy, despite what was going on in Europe. The Conference Board Index of Leading Indicators was up to 117.4 from 110.1 from October 2010.

  • Industrial production grew again. It expanded 0.7% in October. At 94.7% of its 2007 average, total industrial production for October was 3.5% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for total industry stepped up to 77.8%. This is a key to the recovery because major increases in business spending for new plant is not likely to occur until capacity utilization reaches 80% or more.
  • The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers now stands 3.5% over year earlier levels.
  • National retail sales, according to advanced estimates, increased 7.2% from October 2010.
  • Housing had a “better than expected” month but the expectations were low. Privately-owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000. This is well above year earlier levels of 539,000 and expectations of about 600,000 units. Housing permits were also higher than prior month and year levels.
  • Arizona also saw continued employment gains. Total nonfarm jobs were up 44,700 over year earlier levels to 2,433,500 in the state. That is a gain of 1.9% over October 2010. For Greater Phoenix, job gains were 43,200. That equates to gains of 1.8% for October, 2011 vs. October, 2010.While these gains are modest and weak when compared to the extent of the decline since 2007, at least employment is growing.
  • In housing news, R. L. Brown reports that 543 permits were recorded in October compared to 485 in October 2010. Median new home prices were $218,504 in October while median resale prices were $110,000.
  • According to the Cromford Report, the average number of listings on MLS is 27,354 homes so far in November compared to 45,836 listings in November 2010.
  • Days on market were down to 93 in October of this year compared to 104 in October of last year.

Major Point: Not a roaring improvement for Arizona Real Estate… . but slow and steady grow and a sharp decline in average listings.

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