MReport May 2018

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50 | TH E M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Economic Spotlight Market watchers are optimistic about the increase in construction jobs led by builder confidence. H ousing starts were down 7 percent month- over-month, according to February data re - leased by the U.S. Census Bureau. Housing starts were at around 1.23 million in February, down from 1.33 million in January and show - ing a 4 percent decrease over the same period last year. According to economists, these numbers highlight the need for new construction to boost the overall home inventory and tame the rising prices of homes. "The fall in hous - ing starts in February is a move- ment in the wrong direction," said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors. "The key to economic prosperity at this juncture of economic expansion is to produce more new homes. That will help with job creation and reduce the swift price apprecia - tion in several markets." However, when the data is looked at with a broader range, things appear to be looking up. "Inventories are constrained in both the new home and existing markets. But the three-month average single-family building permits were the highest since 2007 as builders respond to the high demand. Builder confidence is high and construction jobs are increasing, all encouraging signs," said Tendayi Kapfidze, Chief Economist at LendingTree. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at agreed. "The decrease of 7 percent in total housing starts is a step back from January's strong reading, but single-family starts continued to increase monthly and yearly, which provides some optimism that building is picking up in the most important segment for home buyers," Hale said. The data also shows a 7.8 per - cent rise in housing completions from January, with around 1.3 mil- lion homes completed in February compared to around 1.22 million homes in the month prior. "Housing completions, the number of net new homes added to the housing stock, increased dramatically compared with a year ago. This signals some relief for the supply shortage," said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American. "The rise in permits, the leading indicator of housing starts, in conjunction with the dramatic rise in construction employment this month, signals an upward trajectory for housing starts for the spring home-buying season." For the upcoming spring buying season, these numbers are a small blip on the horizon. "Buyers have been clamoring for more homes and the uptick in single-family starts suggests that builders are responding and will hopefully do so consistently in the months ahead to push single-fami - ly starts up to 1 million," Hale said. Despite these numbers, 2018 has had a great start after a strong 2017, according to Kapfidze. "2017 was the strongest year for homebuild - ing since 2007. The tax plan will also increase builder margins by 10-15 percent, encouraging more activity including at the lower end which has been underserved in the recovery." Elite ZIP Codes Found in East Coast While 90210 may be a famous wealthy ZIP, today the East coast is leading the nation's priciest regions. S ome of the most expensive ZIP codes in the country can be found in California. But that doesn't necessar - ily translate into people who earn top dollars. According to a study by Property Shark, it's time to look to the East Coast for the wealthiest ZIP Codes in the U.S. The study, which ranked the wealthiest ZIP codes in the U.S. based on median household income found that of the nation's 100 top- earning ZIP codes, 70 were located along the East Coast. Of these, the North East with 48 ZIP codes and the suburbs around D.C. with 28 were the two areas with some of the wealthiest homeowners. California, which had 77 of the 100 most expensive ZIP codes in the country, according to an earlier study, took only 17 spots on the wealthy homeowners' list. With 20 ZIP codes, of which eight were in Manhattan alone, New York led the state-rankings. The study also found that unlike the most expen - sive rankings, the distribution of the wealthiest ZIP codes was more heterogeneous with 15 states taking spots on the list. Even though Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania didn't have ex - pensive ZIP codes, they had some of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the country, the study found. When it came to rankings, Maryland and Connecticut trailed New York and California, with each of these states claiming 10 spots in the overall rankings. New Jersey and Virginia's presence on the list further strengthened the East Coast's dominance on this list. In terms of home prices, the study found that the 11 highest- earning ZIP codes featured an annual median household income of over $250,000 with ZIP code 10013 in Manhattan, New York taking the top ranking on the list of the highest ranked based on median sale price.

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