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Data & Analysis

Business Contacts Surveys - January 2011

Construction and Real Estate Survey Results

Reports from Southeastern brokers and builders indicated that home sales in the region improved in December but remained below the year-earlier level.

  • More than half of home builders reported that sales were down in December compared with a year earlier. A little more than a third said that sales in December were below the November level compared with close to half reporting declines the prior month.
  • Reports from residential brokers were more mixed. A third reported increasing sales on a year-over-year basis while 40 percent reported declines. The most positive reports came from Florida brokers.

Brokers in the Southeast noted improved home sales across all price ranges in December.

Reports from Southeastern brokers were mixed in December but indicated inventories were slightly ahead of a year earlier. Nearly half of builders reported that new home inventories were below the year-earlier level.

Southeastern brokers and builders continued to report significant downward pressure from short sales, REOs, and pending foreclosures.

  • In December 68 percent of brokers reported annual home price declines compared with 74 percent in November.

Southeast buyer traffic improved notably on a year-over-year basis.

The outlook among Southeastern residential builders and brokers continued to improve. More than half of brokers anticipate year-over-year sales gains over the next several months while builders expect sales to be flat to slightly higher.

Southeastern builders reported that home construction activity weakened again in December on a year-over-year basis while the outlook improved slightly.


Note: December poll results are based on responses from 111 residential brokers and 41 builders and were collected Jan. 3–12.

The housing survey's diffusion indexes are calculated as the percentage of total respondents reporting increases minus the percentage reporting declines. Positive values in the index indicate increased activity while negative values indicate decreased activity.

Retail Survey Results

The District Retail Survey showed modest yet positive activity in the retail sector for December, and the outlook continued to be optimistic.

  • Retailers' expectations and sales for December were mixed compared with a year earlier. Responses about sales ranged from up significantly to down slightly; in November nearly 50 percent of retailers said sales were up slightly.
  • Retailers reported that holiday sales were up slightly compared with 2009.
  • For the fifth consecutive month, most survey respondents were positive about the outlook.

Note: December survey results are based on responses from 33 retailers and were collected Jan. 1–12.

The retail survey's diffusion index is calculated as the percentage of total respondents reporting increases minus the percentage reporting declines. Positive values in the index indicate increased activity while negative values indicate decreased activity.


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