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Link in to Lincoln: August Update on the South

The residential housing market has had some ups and downs this year, but builders of new single-family homes, both in the South and across the country, remain confident in the health of their industry. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) reached 55 for the entire United States this month and clocked in at 51 for the South. A score above 50 means a majority of surveyed builders believe conditions are good.

This month marks the third straight one the South’s HMI has been above 50; only one other region, the West, is currently enjoying a streak this long. Residential real estate is, of course, an important indicator of a region’s economic health and, by extension, the state of its commercial real estate markets.

Other positive economic indicators also have emerged from the Southeast in recent weeks. The industrial vacancy rates in three of the region’s major markets – Atlanta, Orlando and South Florida – are dropping, while the manufacturing sector in the area continues to expand.

The monthly Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which evaluates the strength of the manufacturing sector in a six-state area that includes Florida and Georgia, registered a score of 51.3 in July. (A score above 50 means the sector is expanding, while one below the number indicates it’s contracting.) The index has been above 50 every month this year.

The trends discussed above are illuminated in more detail in the infographics below.