Saturday, May 19, 2018
Business

New home sales fall in February

WASHINGTON — Sales of new U.S. homes fell in February for the second straight month, a reminder that the depressed housing market remains weak.

The Commerce Department said Friday that new home sales dropped 1.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. While a mild winter and three months of strong job growth have lifted resales, those conditions haven't benefited the new home market. The current pace is fewer than half the 700,000 that economists consider to be healthy.

Economists said the housing market is a long way from fully recovering.

"Despite renewed hopes over the turn of the year for an imminent turn in housing, it appears that it is too early for such optimism to translate into a rapid pickup in real activity," said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an analyst at BNP Paribas.

There were some positive signs in the report. The government revised December's sales figures up to show an annual rate of 336,000, the best sales pace in a year.

And the median sales price for new homes surged in February more than 8 percent, to $233,700. That's the highest median price since June and could suggest builders are anticipating more sales in the months to come.

Just 150,000 new U.S. homes were for sale in January and February — the lowest on records dating back to 1963. The supply of new homes on the market has consistently fallen over the past two years, which could help stabilize prices.

Though new home sales represent less than 10 percent of the housing market, they have an outsized impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Sales of previously occupied homes have risen more than 13 percent since July. And January and February made up the best winter for resales in five years, when the housing crisis began.

A key reason for the dismal sales in the new home market is that builders must compete with foreclosures and short sales — when lenders accept less for a house than what is owed on the mortgage.

Builders have also stopped working on many projects because it has been hard for them to get financing or to compete with cheaper resale homes. For many Americans, buying a home remains too big a risk more than four years after the housing bubble burst.

Comments
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. What’s more telling is what I didn’t do.I didn’t hose down a muddy tent, I didn’t soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting won’t be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting won’t be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Bill’s founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Bill’s founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA — Like his father, who founded the Crabby Bill’s seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

TAMPA — A decade ago, the Great Recession put Hillsborough and Pinellas counties’ efforts to grow their foreign exports on hold.But since then those efforts have returned, gained support and momentum, expanded the range of their ambition and are now ...
Published: 05/18/18
Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Florida’s economy appears to have plateaued with its unemployment rate holding at 3.9 percent for the seventh straight month, according to the April report released Friday.But some economists say it may be a good thing if the rate doesn’t fall much m...
Published: 05/18/18
Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

TAMPA — A lawsuit over the mix of residences and offices in the planned $350 million Riverwalk Place tower has been dropped.Last August, Riverwalk Tower Investment-Intown LLC, which had been expected to be one of the developers in the project, filed ...
Published: 05/18/18
Orlando’s new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

Orlando’s new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

By MIKE SCHNEIDERORLANDO — The arms race to build new theme park attractions in Orlando is paying dividends. A new report released this week shows theme park attendance at the largest parks in North America last year was up 2.3 percent, powered by ne...
Published: 05/18/18
How Mosaic’s relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

How Mosaic’s relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

Tampa International covets a nonstop flight to São Paulo, Brazil. Mosaic Co, which is moving its headquarters to Hillsborough County, has huge holdings in the country, including several mines. Could Mosaic’s relocation help TIA realize its dream? It ...
Published: 05/18/18
Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

HOLIDAY — A year ago this month, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts announced plans for its first-ever RV park, near Tarpon Springs where the Anclote River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.The $35 million resort, named after the popular Jamaican marine artist...
Published: 05/18/18
American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

MIAMI — A gigantic $4 billion retail and entertainment complex won government approval Thursday after years of debate, greenlighting what promises to be the largest mall in North America, just a few miles from the environmentally sensitive Everglades...
Published: 05/18/18