Business Contacts Surveys - August 2010
Construction and Real Estate Survey Results
Reports from Southeastern brokers and builders indicated that home sales continued to weaken in July on a year-over-year basis.
- Existing home sales weakened on a month-over-month basis, 57 percent of brokers reported that sales declined from June to July.
- According to reports from Southeastern builders, new home sales softened somewhat from June to July, but 52 percent of builders said that sales were even with June.
Brokers in the Southeast indicated that home sales weakened across all price ranges again in July.
Southeastern brokers said that existing home inventories continued to trend up. But builders reported that new home inventories declined further on a year-over-year basis.
Both Southeastern home brokers and builders indicated that home prices weakened in July.
- Comments from both builders and brokers noted mounting downward pressure on home prices across the region, particularly from foreclosures.
Buyer traffic in the Southeast continued to soften in July on a year-over-year basis.
The outlook for sales growth over the next several months remained weak in July but increased slightly from June despite weak buyer traffic.
Southeastern builders reported that home construction activity weakened further in July on a year-over-year basis. But similar to builders' sales outlook, the construction outlook improved modestly.
Note: June survey results are based on responses from 90 residential brokers and 50 builders and were collected August 2–11.
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 retailers surveyed in July were less optimistic than in the spring.
- Most respondents reported that activity in July was below what they had planned for, and, compared with June, traffic was down slightly while sales were mixed. Respondents also noted that low-end products were selling better than high-end products.
- The outlook among merchants was more divided in July than in past months, with 47 percent expecting an increase in sales over the next three months and 40 percent expecting a decrease.
Note: July survey results are based on responses from 30 retailers and were collected August 2–11.
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.