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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-410
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 21, 1998


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today that a quarterly report shows the housing sector continues to set a vigorous pace for 1998.

"If the second half of 1998 matches the first half, then we will have the best building year for housing since 1987 and will set all-time records for the sale of both new and existing homes," Cuomo said.

The report - U.S. Housing Market Conditions for the 2nd Quarter of 1998 - found that sales of new and existing homes continued at record rates and housing starts are 8 percent ahead of the same period of 1997. Moderate to strong employment increases were experienced in all regions with many areas experiencing tight labor market conditions.

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 U.S. Census Bureau, and the Commerce Department.

The HUD report on conditions in April, May, and June 1998 found:

  • While new starts declined 1 percent from the first quarter of 1998, builders have started construction on 772,300 new units in the first six months of 1998, an increase of 8 percent over 1997.

  • New home sales increased 6 percent in the second quarter of 1998 to 909,000 homes on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, the strongest quarter on record.

  • Existing home sales, which continue to set new monthly records, reached 4,773,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis in the second quarter of 1998 and are running 16 percent ahead of the second quarter of last year.

  • During the second quarter, 77 percent of the 44,900 apartments completed in the first quarter were rented.

  • The rental vacancy rate was up 4 percent from the last quarter of 1997, to 8.0 percent.

  • In the New England region, all states posted employment gains. Housing sales demand is at or near the peak levels of the 1980s, and rental markets are tightening throughout the region. The HUD report spotlights the Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area in Connecticut.

  • The New York/New Jersey region saw a steadily expanding economy. In June 1998, New York's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, and New Jersey's was 6.5 percent, both down a point or more from the previous year. The quarterly report spotlights the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY metropolitan area.

  • Building permits in the Mid-Atlantic region rose 6 percent over the second quarter of 1997. Although home sales are also up compared with a year earlier, the region is seeing less price appreciation than the most of the Nation. This quarter's spotlight is on the Washington metropolitan area, which includes the District of Columbia and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

  • States in the Southeast/Caribbean region experienced employment growth rates between 3.2 and 5.0 percent. Caguas, Puerto Rico is the spotlighted city.

  • In the Midwest region all states reported the highest job totals and lowest unemployment rates in more than 20 years. Housing construction remained strong during the second quarter of 1998. Columbus, Ohio is a spotlighted city in the Midwest region.

  • The Southwest added almost 415,000 new jobs during the period. Houston, one of the top 10 homebuilding markets in the nation, is the spotlighted city.

  • The Pacific region recorded a 3.4 percent employment gain over the past 12 months, and the second quarter saw a 14 percent increase in housing permits over the second quarter of 1997. The San Francisco Bay Area is spotlighted in the Pacific region.

  • The Great Plains saw employment increase 2.2 percent in the period from June 1997 to June 1998, most of it in the services sector. Existing home sales remain strong, running 18 percent above a year ago. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, is the city in the spotlight.

  • Construction activity is driving the current expansion in the Rocky Mountain economy. The population of the region continues to grow faster than the national rate. This report spotlights the Salt Lake City-Ogden, Utah, metropolitan area.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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