US home starts climb to best rate since 2006 as housing boom continues - Business Insider
- Home starts in the US climbed in December to the fastest pace since 2006 as housing-market activity thrived into the new year.
- New residential construction starts gained 5.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.67 million units, according to Census Bureau data published Thursday.
- The rate sits 5.2% above the year-ago level.
- Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the rate to fall slightly to 1.56 million from November's revised level.
- Single-family-unit starts rose 12% to a rate of 1.34 million.
- Starts for residences in buildings with five units or more fell 15.2% to a rate of 312,000.
- Permits for new residential units rose 4.5% in December to a rate of 1.71 million, signaling the sector's strength will continue in 2021.
- The unexpected uptick in construction adds to a robust year for the US housing market.
Why RBA boss Phil Lowe is chill as housing heats up
- And, of course, Dr Lowe will have had a close look at the Reserve Bank's own confidential research that argues that house values could jump 30 per cent over three years if near-zero interest rates persist.
- According to an internal Reserve Bank briefing note dated last November, a permanent 1 percentage point cut in the cash rate would increase real house prices by 30 per cent after about three years.
- The combination of a high jobless rate and extremely weak wages growth will act as a brake on rising house prices.
- The combination of a high jobless rate – although the unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 per cent in December, it is still significantly above pre-pandemic levels – and extremely weak wages growth will act as a brake on rising house prices.
The best 6 Australian wines to try before you die, from Seppelt to Seppeltsfield
- Yes, you absolutely must, at least once, try some of Tasmania’s great, late-disgorged sparkling wines like the outstanding 2005 Arras EJ Carr: they can be every bit as good and complex as similarly priced ($250-a-bottle) champagne.
- It tasted like a 10-year-old, not a 40-year-old: such bold black fruit, such firm tannins, and a deep sweep of black liquorice and iodine and bay leaf – characters that I’ve come to think of as very expressive of the old Wendouree vineyard, one of Australia’s most distinctive sites.
- One of the greatest wine experiences in the world is a tour of Seppeltsfield’s Centenniel Cellar in the Barossa, where barrels of Para tawny “port” (as we used to call it) from every vintage dating back to 1878 sit quietly maturing.
- The tour, which costs $99 a person (or $169 if you also want to visit the 1851 homestead and taste other fortified wines), includes a sip of Para tawny from the barrel laid down in your birth year.
BHP to ease record iron ore export rate
- BHP won't be able to sustain its record iron ore export rate in the next six months, in a signal that extremely high iron ore prices are unlikely to be dragged down by extra supply from Western Australia.
- Australia's second biggest iron ore miner has just completed its most productive six months on record, shipping 144.1 million tonnes of the steelmaking ingredient into hot demand from China.
- But the miner warned that iron ore production and exports were likely to be slightly lower in the six months to June 30 on the back of maintenance and the introduction of new mines like South Flank.
- BHP's production of coking coal in the past six months was five per cent lower than the same time last year, but BHP said that slump was due to wet weather and port maintenance rather than China's blacklisting of Australian coal.
Show HN: Compare prices that US hospitals charge patients and insurance co's
- Starting this year, all hospitals are required to list their prices for elective services.
- Whether you have insurance or plan to pay cash - find and compare prices below.
- We are adding prices as quickly as hospitals are publishing them and we'll have more exciting news soon.
- It pays to know the cost of care.
- Beat the cash rate by finding your out-of-pocket costs after your insurance discount.
- Get a final out-of-pocket confirmation directly from your provider and insurance company.
- Just like you wouldn’t buy a car, rent an apartment or even order food without knowing the cost, you shouldn’t pay blindly for healthcare.
- Until 2021, hospitals were not required to publish rates for services.
- Shop from over 500 healthcare services listed directly by hospitals to find the care you need.
- Let patients find you by claiming your provider page and listing your services.
Australia gets the biggest cost cut of our lifetimes
- So it’s not the iron ore price that’s the best news for Australian national income – it’s the interest that we’re no longer paying on what we owe the world.
- The net servicing cost of what we owe the world has dropped by more than two percentage points of annual income – some $50 billion a year at annual rates.
- With interest rates down but iron ore prices up, Australia’s net foreign debt is set to fall as a share of national income.
- And it’s worth remembering that, as a nation, we’re on track to outgrow our foreign debt: the current account deficit as a share of the economy is expected to be smaller than growth in the economy itself.
- But the world just handed Australians the biggest cost cut of our lifetimes, and it looks set to hang around for a very long time to come.
Full recovery means getting back to macro policy normal
- The RBA's internal warning about financial stability risk underscores the need to return fiscal and monetary policy settings to normal as soon as possible to propel Australia's self-sustaining recovery.
- But as we report today, the RBA’s confidential analysis says house prices could spike by 30 per cent over the next three years if borrowers believe ultra-low interest rates are here to stay, and warns of financial stability risk as the renewed housing boom encourages borrowers to seek to buy now, rather than pay more later.
- With monetary policy exhausted before the crisis, we warned that the leap into unconventional funny-money settings risked inflating risky asset bubbles, as opposed to supporting the self-sustaining business-investment-led recovery that Australia must achieve to truly get back to normal after the pandemic.
House prices could jump 30pc because of low rates: RBA
- Confidential analysis by the Reserve Bank of Australia suggests house values could jump 30 per cent over three years if borrowers believe the cut in interest rates is permanent.
- While some market economists have warned that the current extremely low interest rates pose medium-term financial stability risks to the economy, on balance the central bank saw rising asset prices as a net positive.
- RBA staff analysis conducted in November said the $200 billion in ultra-cheap loans to commercial banks, government bond buying and the 0.1 per cent interest rate would assist the recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession.
- The analysis noted that a permanent 1 percentage point cut in the overnight cash rate would increase real house prices 30 per cent after about three years, the RBA noted.
How sleep trackers can actually ruin your sleep
- Most sleep trackers are a watch worn on the wrist, and work by monitoring your body movements as you sleep to determine how much time you probably spent awake versus asleep.
- But since sleep trackers are worn on the wrist, they make their estimates of nightly sleep by measuring body movement and sometimes heart rate data.
- But as sleep trackers only measure movement, one study found watches were unable to differentiate sleep from wakefulness in people with insomnia.
- For example, one study of heart rate sleep trackers showed that two consumer devices tended to underestimate the amount of deep sleep wearers obtained by as much as 46 minutes.
- Given people who experience poor sleep may be more likely to use sleep tracking devices, this could be a concern as it may potentially worsen mental health issues.