Home sales in April suggest a slight uptick in the moribund housing construction market as sales of new single-family houses in April rose 0.3 percent above the revised March rate, although numbers were still down 34 percent compared with April 2008, according to the Census Bureau. Still, the number of newly built single-family homes on the market shrank to 297,000 units, the lowest level since May 2001, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
“April’s results mark two consecutive years of monthly declines in the number of unsold new homes,” NAHB reported. “This continued reduction in the new-homes inventory helps bring supply in line with demand, which is an important step towards the market’s recovery. We can expect the pace of new home sales to bounce along the bottom a bit before picking back up towards the end of this quarter.”
The outlook for highway construction funding varies considerably from state to state, reports Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. Lawmakers or governors in Idaho, Massachusetts, Louisiana and Georgia rejected gas tax increases, while Maine, Tennessee, Texas and Michigan legislatures are weighing gas tax increases. Ohio lawmakers approved a $7.6 billion transportation bill, while North Dakota and Oklahoma legislatures boosted transportation spending.