Retail Sales Increase in August And Housing Report Shows Strength

Retail sales in the United States jumped by the most in six months according to the Commerce Department. This increase has helped ease the concern about a larger pullback in the economy.

Retail sales rose o.9% in June which followed a o.6 rise in July. Demand for automobiles, higher gas prices, and back to school sales impacted the increase. Automobile dealers reported a 1.3% increase in purchases while retails sales excluding autos climbed 0.8%.

Besides the rise in sales within the auto and retail sector, sales at building material outlets rose 1%. Purchases at restaurants and furniture outlets also increased.

New housing construction rose in August. Beginning construction climbed 2.3% to a 750,000 annual rate. This increase was revised form a 733,000 annual pace reported in July by the the Commerce Department. This is the strongest showing of single family home starts in more than two years.

Permits for the building of single family homes increased o.2% the highest since 2010. Confidence among construction company leaders is the highest in more than six years according to the Nation Association of Home Builders.

All time low mortgage rates and cheaper properties are driving sales. The average rate for on a 3.55% in the week ending Sept 13. This was the 2nd lowest rate since 1971 according to Freddie Mac. 3.49% on July 26 was the lowest. “Affordability is actually quite favorable right now and that would be a combination of prices as well as mortgage rates ” said Jim O’Sullivan a chief U.S. economist. In July sales of new homes rebounded to a two year Commerce Department figures showed on August 23.

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