Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

JUL 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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10 LC DBM I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 4 4 5 Home Sales Mixed But Small Businesses Like the Outlook Housing Starts Gain Ground, Permits Lose It More Growth in Billings Some Confidence Backslides Construction Economic Update New home sales saw a strong turnaround, rising 6.7 percent in May compared to April's 3.7 percent fall. But existing home sales were off 0.4 percent: the second monthly loss in a row. Inventories, which remain tight for both sectors, grew 2.8 percent in the existing category. Development of new homes is reportedly picking up. The May score for the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index added 3.0 points to end at 107.8: the second highest level in the survey's 45 years. Sales expectations was the big winner of the ten index components with a jump of 10 points. Opti - mism for 'general business condi - tions' and expan- sion potential both gained 7. Encouraged by good weather, increased manu - facturing and low unemployment, housing starts in the Midwest swelled 62.2 percent month-over- month, leading to a 5.0 percent national increase. The three other regions posted losses, including -15 percent in the Northeast. Permits meanwhile were off 4.6 percent month-over-month nationally. At 52.8, the Architecture Billing Index post - ed its eighth straight month above 50, which signifies more firms reporting month-to-month increases, indicating coming growth in build - ing projects, than those reporting decreases. The institutional index, up 2.2 points, had its strongest score, 54.3, in three years. Both consumers' confidence and builders' con - fidence slipped in June. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell 2.4 points to 126.4, which is still a strong score as consum - ers are optimistic about employment and income prospects. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index lost 2 points to register a 68. Part of the blame is being put on higher input costs (+8.8% year-to- year), particularly lumber.

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