Surging Prices for New Homes Suggest Tight Low-End Supply

Home Construction

Record prices for new U.S. homes amid a sales pickup indicate the supply of houses may be tight at the lower end of the market, pinching first-time buyers, government data showed June 23.

Highlights of New Home Sales

• Single-family home sales increased 2.9% month-over-month to 610,000 annualized pace (estimate of 590,000).

• Median sales price surged 16.8% year-over-year to a record $345,800.

• Supply of homes unchanged at 5.3 months; 268,000 new houses were on market at the end of May.

Home Construction Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg News

Autonomous Vehicles in Nevada Roll Forward With New Legislation

Self-Driving Truck
Nevada displayed its dedication to refining autonomous vehicles, with the passage of and signing of Assembly Bill 69, industry officials said.
 
AB69 strengthens the state’s efforts in policy, as well as the research and development of fully autonomous vehicles. Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the bill into law on June 16, after it passed the Legislature with industry support from various automotive groups including General Motors, the Self-Driving Coalition — including Waymo, Uber, Lyft, Ford and Volvo — and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
Self-Driving Truck Daimler AG

Oil Drops to Seven-Month Low as Libya Adds to Persistent Surplus

pumpjack

Oil dropped to the lowest in seven months amid a revival in output from Libya and rising volumes of fuel held in floating storage.

Futures lost as much as 2.9% in New York after falling 1.2% June 19. Libya is pumping the most crude in four years after a deal with Wintershall AG enabled at least two fields to resume production. The amount of oil stored in tankers reached a 2017 high of 111.9 million barrels earlier this month, according to Paris-based cargo tracking company Kpler SAS.

pumpjack J. N. Stuart/Flickr

Illinois Inland Port Study Delayed by State Funding Holdup

DECATUR, Ill. — More than three years after state grants were authorized to help develop the Midwest Inland Port, the city of Decatur, Ill., is still waiting.

The city of Decatur was awarded funding from the state Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in 2014. The money was meant to pay for studies of the transportation needs related to the port, identify necessary improvements and estimate their cost.

Work still hasn’t started because of a holdup with funding, according to a memo distributed to council members.

Truck Driver Drug Test Failure Rate Rises to Highest Level in Seven Years

Trucker

A new U.S. Department of Transportation drug testing report shows that the overall 2016 lab-reported positive drug test rate for truck drivers and other DOT security-­sensitive employees rose to its highest level since at least 2009, including year-­over-­year increases in three of five drug categories.

However, despite the rate increase, the actual number of people who tested positive for several drugs declined year-over-year, due to about 800,000 fewer tests administered in 2016.

Trucker Thinkstock

Illinois County Hires Former State DOT Secretary to Push Freight Plan

Former Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider was unanimously hired by the Will County board June 16 to implement the Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan that she helped create after amending her proposed contract.

A debate also was sparked on whether to allow citizens in Eastern Will County another chance to comment on the mobility plan, since an open house slated in Crete was cancelled.

Schneider, who now has her own consulting firm, also previously served as chair of the National Freight Advisory Council and was assistant state comptroller.

US Xpress to Make SmartTruck Feature Standard on 2017 Trailer Builds

SmartTruck announced truckload carrier U.S. Xpress will include its fuel-saving TopKit Aero System on all its trailer builds in 2017.

The specific number of trailers was not disclosed.

The aerodynamic feature weighs 63 pounds, according to Greenville, S.C.-based SmartTruck, and its components redirect high-energy airflow from roof and from around the back corners into a low-energy wake.

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