Housing starts turn up, stocks turn down

Quikrete Industry Dashboard reveals the latest major metrics.
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The residential construction numbers took a turn for the better, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for February came in at 1.450 million, that’s up 9.8 percent from January.

Compared to February of 2022, however, starts were down 18.4 percent.

Also on the latest version of the Quikrete Industry Dashboard, single-family starts turned up slightly, but remain at a low-voltage pace of 830,000. A year ago, single-family starts were running at 1.213 million.

Read more about the residential construction stats here.

Elsewhere on the Dashboard, charts show sales at companies classified as NAICS 444 – building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers—rose slightly in February, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A report issued Wednesday showed NAICS 444 sales, on an unadjusted basis, were an estimated $33.754 billion in February. That’s up 0.7 percent from $33.529 billion in the same month last year.

Meanwhile, sales for the retail subset of hardware stores (NAICS 44413) showed year-over-year gains for  January. (Note: January is the latest available month for NAICS 44413 sales statistics.) For the month of January, on an unadjusted basis, hardware stores generated $2.93 billion in sales, up from $2.73 billion in January of 2022.

The majority of ticker symbols tracked on the Stock Roundup took a noticeable shift into the bottom left quadrant, marking declines for the year and the month. BLDR and TSCO were the only two symbols with gains for the year, based on March 16 prices.

Gas prices held relatively steady month to month at $3.46 for a gallon of regular, according to the tally from the American Automobile Association. A year ago, that same gallon sold for an average price of $4.31.

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Coming next: Existing home sales, which in January came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.00 million, will be updated for February on March 21.

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