According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) there were 84 metropolitan areas in the U.S. with improving housing markets for the month of July. The National Association of Home Builders/First American Improvement Market Index (IMI) takes into account metros that have improved in housing permits, employment, and house prices for six consecutive months. The NAHB pointed out the diverse geographical areas of these improving markets with Houston, TX; Springfield, MA; St. Cloud, MN; and Prescott, AR all being represented in the index. The IMI index was created to track signs of economic health throughout all metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) throughout the United States.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), single-family housing starts are continuing to rise in 2012. Data taken from HUD and Census Bureau reports show May was the third month in a row where new construction on single and multifamily units increased from month to month. Single-family housing starts increased 3.2% in May, making it the best one month period for this type of construction since December of 2011. Starts during May climbed to 516,000 units.
The CPSC has issued a recall for Harbor Breeze Bath Fans with Heater and Light, which were sold at Lowe’s stores. The fan’s blades can rotate improperly, overheat and become a fire hazard. The recall is in effect for approximately 68,000 units sold in the United States.
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Prices Index, home sales prices were up in much of the United States for April 2012. This index is used to analyze home sales numbers in select cities across the country. There was a 1.3% increase in home sales for April from the month before.
The CPSC and IKEA have issued a recall for IKEA 365 + SANDA track (28” and 45”) track lighting systems. The lighting system’s ground connection is defective and can become a shock hazard. The recall is in effect for approximately 5,000 units sold in the United States.
According to Reuters, small business lending rose in May of this year. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index reported an 18% gain in lending volume in May compared to a year earlier. This is the strongest showing for small business loans in any month of 2012. The index also showed a drop in loans delinquent by 30 days to 1.18% from 1.28% in April. This is also down from 4.41% in May of 2009.
The CPSC and Flushmate have issued a recall for Series 503 FlushmateIII Pressure Assisted Flushing Systems. The systems can burst and become an impact or laceration hazard. The recall is in effect for approximately 2,300,000 units in the United States and Canada.
The housing market continues to improve according to new data released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. There was a 7.6% rise in sales for newly built, single family homes in May of 2012. That month saw 369,000 of these units sold.
The CPSC and Big Lots have issued a recall for several models of Portable Space Heaters and Portable Oscillating Space Heaters. The heaters can overheat and become a fire or electric shock hazard. The recall is in effect for approximately 70,500 units sold.
One indicator of an improving business sector is franchise lending. Data from the IFA/BoeFly Franchise Lending Index shows a 6.01% increase in these loans from May 2011 to May 2012. The index is put out by the International Franchise Association and Boefly, a business transaction firm. The data also showed that funding was equally split between existing and new franchises at 47% each. The steady growth of lending in this sector shows a positive sign in our current economy.