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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-197
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeMay 19, 1998


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today released the U.S. Housing Market Conditions 1st Quarter Report, which shows that the nation's housing sector registered first quarter increases this year in building permits, existing home sales and new home sales.

"The outstanding performance of our nation's economy is strengthening the housing sector," Cuomo said. "This is giving more families the opportunity to become homeowners, and is improving business and creating jobs in the homebuilding, real estate and lending industries."

U.S. Housing Market Conditions brings together data from the housing, real estate, and primary and secondary mortgage markets. Data are collected from housing organizations such as the National Association of Homebuilders, the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Other data come from HUD, the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department.

The report found that moderate to strong employment increases were experienced in all regions of the country, with many areas experiencing tight labor market conditions.

The HUD report on conditions in January, February and March 1998 found:

  • Building permits in the first quarter increased by 7 percent from the fourth quarter of 1997 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,578,000 housing units and were ten percent ahead of the first quarter of last year.

  • Existing home sales, which continued to set new records, were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4,687,000 in the first quarter - 7 percent above the fourth quarter of 1997.

  • New home sales increased in the first quarter to 2 percent above the fourth quarter of 1997. March 1998 was the seventh month in a row with sales of over 800,000 homes.

  • Multifamily starts in the first quarter reached 292,000 units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, showing a mixed pattern -- 11 percent below last quarter, but 13 percent above the first quarter of 1997.

  • Building permits were issued for 357,000 units of new multifamily housing (defined as housing with five or more units) in the first quarter, 11 percent above the fourth quarter of 1997 and 15 percent above the first quarter of 1997.

  • During the first quarter of this year, 71 percent of the 55,800 apartments completed in the fourth quarter of last year were rented.

  • The rental vacancy rate was unchanged from the last quarter of 1997 at 7.7 percent.

  • Shipments of manufactured homes in the first quarter of 1998 slipped slightly from both the fourth quarter and the first quarter of 1997 to 351,000 housing units (SAAR).

  • In the New England, New York/New Jersey, and the Mid-Atlantic regions, sales of existing homes in the first quarter of 1998 continued to gain momentum. Single-family building permits in the New England region were up a robust 18 percent. Cities spotlighted in those regions in HUD's report included: Worcester, MA; Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY; and Baltimore, MD.

  • The Southeast region experienced employment growth rates near 3 percent as sales markets continued to show strong activity during the first quarter. Birmingham, AL is a spotlighted city in the Southeast region.

  • In the Midwest region unemployment rates remained low and new housing construction gained during the first quarter of 1998. Grand Rapids-Holland, MI, is a spotlighted metropolitan area in the Midwest region.

  • The Southwest region continued to record healthy employment growth, while the Pacific region recorded the largest employment gains. Tulsa, OK is the spotlighted city in the Southwest region. Los Angeles County, CA is spotlighted in the Pacific.

  • The Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions continued to experience tight labor market conditions and low unemployment rates. Metropolitan St. Louis, MO is spotlighted in the Great Plains region. Provo-Orem, UT is spotlighted in the Rocky Mountain Region.

  • Strong employment and population growth stimulated housing market activity throughout the Northwest region. The region continues to grow faster than the national average. Anchorage, Alaska is a spotlighted city in the Northwest region.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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