January 22, 2015 / 7:28 PM / 3 years ago

Fitch: Guarded Optimism for U.S. Housing In 2015

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) Link to Fitch Ratings' Report: U.S. Homebuilding/Construction: The Chalk Line here NEW YORK, January 22 (Fitch) The modest and irregular pattern of U.S. housing activity in 2014 is not predictive of growth activity likely this year, according to Fitch Ratings in the latest edition of the 'Chalk Line'. Starts and orders were generally sluggish and certainly below expectations last year due to buyer wariness, lack of urgency and credit constraints. That said, 'Factors like pent-up demand and a steady easing in credit standards should sustain and noticeably accelerate the upturn for housing in 2015,' said Managing Director and lead homebuilding analyst Robert Curran. 2014 preliminary single-family starts improved 4.9% to 648,000 as multifamily volume grew almost 16.5% to 357,800. Total starts for 2014 approximated one million. Fitch also estimates new home sales advanced about 1% to 436,000. Existing home volume declined 3% to 4.927 million largely due to fewer distressed homes for sale. In 2015, single-family starts should expand about 17.5% and multifamily volume gain 7%. New home sales should improve 18%, while existing home sales rise 4%. Fitch expects stable ratings for most issuers within the homebuilding sector during 2015, reflecting a continued, moderate cyclical improvement in overall construction activity. There is potential for a few Outlooks revisions to Positive and/or upgrades. Fitch will provide a brief recap of the third-quarter 2014 (3Q'14) and discuss expectations for 4Q'14 and years 2014 and 2015 during a teleconference to be held tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. ET (separate press release to follow). Fitch's latest 'U.S. Homebuilding: The Chalk Line - Quarterly Update: Winter 2014/2015' includes the following key updates and new features: --Homebuilders' quarterly growth trends and margin statistics for 3Q'14, excluding the impact of non-recurring, non-cash real estate charges, are provided; --Liquidity analyses are updated and historical liquidity profiles are presented for perspective; --Recovery ratings are detailed for five single B or lower rated homebuilding credits; --The linkage between marriage and home ownership is explored; --Past and present oil prices and their effect on the Houston and Texas economies are discussed; --The Census Bureau's latest population projections are referenced; --Government agencies recent actions and regulations are noted; --Data and commentary are provided for NAHB's 55+ housing market index; --Various foreclosure statistics and related data are updated; --There are also updated comments on the Fed and interest rates, metropolitan home prices, owning versus renting, cash sales, national home pricing trends, jumbo loans, lumber prices, incremental sources of demand, labor costs, underwriting standards, demographics, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, the FHFA, FHA, and VA; --Fitch's economic and construction forecasts for 2015 have been updated. The report is available at 'www.fitchratings.com' under 'Latest Research' or by clicking on the above link. Contact : Robert P. Curran Managing Director +1-212-908-0515 Fitch Ratings, Inc., 33 Whitehall Street, New York, NY 10004 Robert Rulla Director +1-312-606-2311 Monica Delarosa Associate Director +1-212-908-0525 Media Relations: Sandro Scenga, New York, Tel: +1 212-908-0278, Email: sandro.scenga@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com' ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.

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