Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today's Numbers: Architecture Billings, Calif. Defaults, Hamptons Home Prices...

Consecutive months that architecture billings have risen: 5

From the American Institute of Architects:
"Business conditions at architecture firms continue to improve. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 52.0, down from the mark of 53.2 in November.  This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings)."

Calif. homes to receive Notices of Default, 4Q 2012: 38,212

That's a six-year low which hasn't been seen since the dawn of the foreclosure crisis. From Mortgage News Daily:
"DataQuick attributed the decline in early foreclosure filing to rising home values, an improving economy, and a shift toward short sales which accounted for an estimated 26 percent of statewide resale activity in the fourth quarter.  The median price paid for a home during the quarter was $300,000, up 22.4 percent from a year ago and 32.2 percent off the median's $227,000 bottom in first-quarter 2009.
"Home values increased through most of 2012, and the rate of increase picked up toward the end of the year. That means fewer and fewer homeowners are underwater, where they owe more than their homes are worth. That in turn means they can sell and pay off the mortgage, or perhaps refinance at today's low interest rates."

U.S. union membership in 2012: 14.3 million

From the New York Times:
"The percentage of workers in unions fell to 11.3 percent, down from 11.8 percent in 2011, the bureau found in its annual report on union membership. That brought unionization to its lowest level since 1916, when it was 11.2 percent, according to a study by two Rutgers economists, Leo Troy and Neil Sheflin. 
"Labor specialists cited several reasons for the steep one-year decline in union membership. Among the factors were new laws that rolled back the power of unions in Wisconsin, Indiana and other states, the continued expansion by manufacturers like Boeing and Volkswagen in nonunion states and the growth of sectors like retail and restaurants, where unions have little presence."

Average home price in New York's Hamptons: $2.13 million

From Bloomberg:

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