by Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

Home affordability was worse the second quarter of the year compared to the first thanks mainly to rising home values. Nationally, 63.2% of homes were affordable for families earning the U.S. median income compared to 66.5% in the first quarter. Every Arizona metropolitan area reported in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) also had lower affordability compared to the quarter before. In order of affordability expressed by the share of homes affordable for a median income in that area in the second quarter, here are the Arizona metros: Tucson (78.4), Yuma (77.4), Lake Havasu City-Kingman (73.1), Prescott (65.9), Phoenix (61.8), and Flagstaff (57.1).  The most affordable metro in the nation was Kokomo, Indiana (95.5), while the least affordable was Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, California (18.5).

Producer prices rose just 0.2% in July, with seasonally adjusted final demand goods decreasing 0.1% and services increasing 0.4%, according to the August 14 Bureau of Labor Statistics release.  The 12 month change in the producer price index was -0.8% before seasonal adjustment.

Bankruptcies continue to trend down in Arizona. There were 1,491 bankruptcies filed in the state during July, down 15.5% from the same month a year ago. Year to date, bankruptcies are down 18.3% statewide, and only two counties (Apache and Greenlee) have reported more filings to date for 2015 than 2014.

Initial unemployment applications decreased in Arizona the week ending August 1 to 4,385 compared to 4,466 the week before. The four-week moving average remained steady, moving down just 10 to 5,319. The national figures for initial unemployment claims were up slightly to a seasonally adjusted 274,000 for the week ending August 8. The less volatile four-week average was down to the lowest it has been since 2000 at 266,250.

August 7, 2015

Employment in the U.S. increased by 215,000 in July according to the employment situation report released August 7. The largest increases in employment occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities. The unemployment rate for the nation was unchanged at 5.3%.

The U.S. trade deficit grew to $43.8 billion in June, up from $40.9 billion in May. Exports were $188.6 billion for the month, down slightly from the month before, while imports were up $2.8 billion over the month to $232.4 billion.

July 31, 2015

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.3% in the second quarter, according to the advance estimate released July 30. Revisions released at the same time indicate that the first quarter 2015 GDP was better than previously reported at 0.6% (instead of -0.2%).  

Arizona’s unemployment applications shrank to a more normal amount the week ending July 18, moving to 5,109 (2,208 lower than the week prior). The four-week moving average was higher at 5,313 compared to 5,105 the week before. Initial unemployment benefits nationally were up slightly at a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ending July 25. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, dropped to 274,750.

Phoenix home prices increased 3.8% over the year in May according to the July 28 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. This was less than the national home price appreciation of 4.4% for the same time period. The year-over-year price change for Phoenix has been lower than that of the nation since August 2014.

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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