Mercer Mass Timber LLC., a subsidiary of the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Mercer International Inc., a global producer of market pulp and solid wood products with mills in Canada, Germany, and Australia, announced on Wednesday that it plans to invest $50 million (USD) over the next two years in capital projects at its Spokane Valley mass timber manufacturing facility.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported on Thursday that total existing home sales dropped -2.4% in April from March to a seasonally adjusted rate at 5.61 million homes. This marks the third consecutive month of existing home sales declines. Year-over-year, however, sales are down -5.9% (5.96 million in April 2021).
Freddie Mac has released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending May 19, 2022. The PMMS reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.25% with an average 0.9 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.30%.
The Conference Board, a non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank founded in 1916, released today (5-19-22) the Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. in April of 2022. According to the report, the LEI declined -0.3% to a reading of 119.2 (2016=100), following a 0.1% increase in March and a 0.6% increase in February.
The U.S. Department of Labor is reporting that an additional 218,000 Americans (seasonally adjusted) made their initial filing for unemployment benefits during the week ending on Saturday, May 14, 2022. This is an increase of 21,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 199,500.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported on Wednesday (5-18-22) that privately‐owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1,724,000. This is -0.2% below the revised March estimate of 1,728,000 but is 14.6% above the April 2021 rate of 1,505,000. Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 1,100,000.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Starts and Completion by Purpose and Design report for Q1 of 2022, with additional analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the single-family built-for-rent sector (SFBFR) continues to expand as housing affordability hurdles continue to increase.
In a project to support market acceptance of tall and large mass timber buildings in Canada, the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) has partnered with both federal and provincial governments to conduct a series of five separate fire research burns on a full-scale mass timber structure in Ottawa. The largest burn is scheduled for some time in June.
Redfin, the Seattle-based, technology powered real estate company, reported today (5-18-22) that, nationwide, 60.7% of home offers written by Redfin agents in April encountered competition on seasonally annual adjusted basis. This is the lowest level seen since March of 2021. The statistic is down from a revised rate of 63.4% in March.
According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, for the week ending May 13, 2022, the Market Composite Index (a measure of mortgage loan application volume) declined -11.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index declined -11.0% compared with the previous week.