Last Week in Review: Retail Sales were stronger than expected in July. Housing Starts improved from June's nine-month low.
July Housing Starts rebounded slightly from the steep decreases seen in June. Housing Starts grew to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.168 million units, which was a 0.9 percent increase from June's downwardly revised estimate of 1.158 million, the Commerce Department reported.
Housing Starts were down 1.4 percent from July 2017, however, likely due to higher construction costs for materials and land and labor shortages this year. Results were divided across the country with increases in the Midwest and South and declines in the West and Northeast. Single-family starts, which make up the bulk of the residential housing market, were up 0.9 percent from June.
There was a positive sign as Building Permits, a sign of future construction, increased 1.5 percent from June and are up 4.2 percent from a year ago. If this upward direction in permits continues, new home construction could get the boost it needs in the months to come.
Retail Sales data for July signaled that the U.S. economy is doing well. Retail Sales rose 0.5 percent from June, well above the 0.1 percent expected. However, June Retail Sales were revised lower to 0.2 percent from 0.5 percent, which took some of the luster from July's figures. On an annual basis, Retail Sales were up 6.4 percent from July of last year.
Both Stocks and Bonds saw seesaw trading in the latest week due to uncertainty overseas in Turkey and ongoing tariff issues with China. Home loan rates remain near historic lows.