Builders More Optimistic

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose four points to 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose four points to 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which was released on Tuesday. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

More specifically, the index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” All three index components increased in November, with the index gauging current sales conditions up five points to 62; the index measuring expectations for future sales up two points to 66; and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers increasing four points to 45.

“Low interest rates, affordable home prices and solid job creation are contributing to a steady housing recovery,” NAHB chief economist David Crowe notes. “After a slow start to the year, the [index] has remained above the 50-point benchmark for five consecutive months, and we expect the momentum to continue into 2015.”

E-commerce continues to grow

The Census Bureau reported on Tuesday that e-commerce sales during the third quarter of 2014 totaled $78.1 billion, an increase of 4 percent compared with the second quarter. Total retail sales for the quarter came in at $1.185 trillion, an increase of 0.9 percent quarter-over-quarter.

E-commerce sales during 3Q14 were also up 16.2 percent compared with the same quarter in 2013. Total retail sales, on the other hand, gained 4.2 percent year-over-year.

As a percentage of total retail sales, e-commerce sales have been steadily increasing over the last decade, according to the bureau. During the first quarter of 2005, e-sales were a little less than 2.4 percent of the total. By the third quarter of 2014, e-sales were about 6.5 percent of all retail sales.

Another day, another record high for Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 40.07 points, or 0.23 percent. The S&P 500 advanced 0.51 percent and the Nasdaq was up 0.67 percent.