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Confidence Among Remodelers Remains Solid

Posted by on Oct 18, 2018 in News

NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) posted a reading of 58 in the third quarter of 2018, remaining stable from the previous quarter. The RMI has been consistently above 50 — indicating the majority of remodelers report market activity is higher compared to the previous quarter — since the second quarter of 2013. The overall RMI averages current remodeling activity and future indicators. “Remodelers across the country are seeing home owner demand remain strong through the midpoint of the year,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Joanne Theunissen, CGP, CGR, a remodeler from Mt. Pleasant, Mich. “Both positive home price growth — albeit at a slightly slower rate — and good consumer confidence are supporting the steady remodeling market.” Current market conditions rose one point from the previous quarter to 58. Among its three primary components: Major additions and alterations rose one point to 56 Minor additions and alterations decreased one point to 57 Home maintenance and repair rose one point to 60 The future market indicators remained the same as the previous quarter at 59. Its individual components include: Calls for bids rose two points to 57 Amount of work committed for the next three months increased three points to 59 Backlog of remodeling jobs fell four points to 62 Appointments for proposals decreased two points to 59 “The stability of the RMI reflects offsetting trends in the remodeling market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “A sound economy with low unemployment and easing lumber prices are being counterbalanced by rising interest rates and the ongoing labor shortage.” For the full RMI tables, please visit nahb.org/rmi. For more information about remodeling, visit...

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New Home Sales Up 3.5% in August Even as Affordability Concerns Persist

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018 in News

New Home Sales Up 3.5% in August Even as Affordability Concerns Persist Filed in Economics, Home Building by NAHB Now on September 26, 2018 • 0 Comments Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.5% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 629,000 units after downwardly revised June and July reports, according to newly released data from HUD and the Census Bureau. These downward revisions suggest softness in new-home sales activity this summer. However, on a year-to-date basis, sales are up 6.9% from this time in 2017. “Sales ticked up in August due to positive demographics and a strong overall economy,” said NAHB chairman Randy Noel. “However, housing affordability remains a serious concern. Builders must manage supply-side costs and stiff regulatory hurdles to keep prices competitive.” “Housing affordability has taken a toll on new home sales over the summer, and there could be market volatility in the months ahead as communities grapple with the aftereffects of Hurricane Florence,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. “Still, we expect the overall housing market to grow this year as demand continues to increase among millennials and other newcomers.” A new home sale occurs when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. The home can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction or completed. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the August reading of 629,000 units is the number of homes that would sell if this pace continued for the next 12 months. The inventory of new homes for sale was 318,000 in August. The median sales price was $320,200. Regionally, sales rose 47.8% in the Northeast, 9.1% in the West and 2.7% in the Midwest. Sales fell 1.7% in the South. For additional analysis, read Dietz’s Eye on Housing blog...

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Chinese Tariffs Act as a $1 Billion Tax Hike on Housing, Could Jump to $2.5 Billion

Posted by on Sep 20, 2018 in News

Filed in Economics, Trade by NAHB Now on September 18, 2018 • 2 Comments President Trump’s decision yesterday to escalate the trade conflict with China could wind up imposing a $2.5 billion tax increase on residential construction at time when builders are already grappling with higher housing costs. Trump announced he is moving immediately to impose 10% tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including $10 billion of goods used by the home building industry. This 10% levy represents a $1 billion tax increase on residential construction. Making matters even worse, the tax hike will rise to $2.5 billion on Jan. 1 when the president said the tariff rate will jump to 25% if the two nations have not resolved their differences by year end. If China retaliates, Trump has vowed to place tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of imports — a move NAHB has strongly opposed. Responding to this action, NAHB Chairman Randy Noel issued the following statement noting the effects this will have on the housing market and urging the White House to change course: “President Trump’s decision to impose 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including $10 billion of goods used by the residential construction sector, could have major ramifications for the housing industry. With housing costs on the rise, this action translates into a tax increase on housing that will rise even more significantly on Jan. 1 when the tariff rate jumps to 25 percent. “Further, this tax increase is coming on top of the current 20% tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada. The lumber tariffs have already added thousands of dollars to the price of a typical single-family home. “With America facing a housing affordability crisis, it is counterproductive to enact policies that will needlessly drive up the cost of housing. We respectfully urge the administration to change course and work to resolve these trade disputes in a manner that won’t harm American businesses and consumers.” NAHB has been leading the charge to urge the Trump administration to resume trade talks with Canada. It is imperative to find a long-term solution to this trade dispute that will ensure American home builders and consumers have access to a reliable supply of softwood lumber at reasonable prices. At NAHB’s urging, 171 House members sent a letter to the administration in June urging the United States to re-start softwood trade negotiations with Canada. And in another effort spearheaded by NAHB, 12 Democratic and Republican senators sent a joint letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week urging the administration to resume lumber trade talks and find an equitable solution that will satisfy all sides. NAHB continues to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber imports into the United States at a competitive...

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Housing Starts Rise in August Amid Ongoing Affordability Concerns

Posted by on Sep 20, 2018 in News

Filed in Economics, Home Building, Multifamily by NAHB Now on September 19, 2018 • 0 Comments Total housing starts increased 9.2% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.28 million units, according to newly released data from HUD and the Commerce Department. The August reading of 1.28 million is the number of housing units builders would start if they maintained this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 1.9% to 876,000 units while the multifamily sector increased 29.3% to 408,000. “Builders remain largely confident because the economy is solid and demographics point to continued demand,” said NAHB chairman Randy Noel. While housing production rose, overall permits dropped 5.7% to 1.23 million units in August. Single-family permits fell 6.1% to 820,000 units, and multifamily permits dropped 4.9% to 409,000 units. “Although we saw an increase in starts in August, we are likely to see softening in the market in the months ahead,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. “Affordability is a particular concern because of home price gains, due in part to the high regulatory burden on new home construction. Increasing costs for building materials, prompted partially by recently imposed tariffs on a wide range of products, are also a concern. Moreover, interest rates are continuing their gradual upward climb.” Regionally, the West led the nation with a 19.1% increase in combined single-family and multifamily housing starts. Unchanged in the Northeast, starts increased 9.1% in the Midwest and 6.5% in the South. Led by a 19.2% decline in the Northeast, permits decreased in every region. They were down 1.7% in the Midwest, 2.9% in the South and 8.4% in the...

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Shortage of Rough Carpenters Climbs to Record High

Posted by on Sep 17, 2018 in News

Shortage of Rough Carpenters Climbs to Record High Filed in Economics, Labor, Safety and Health by NAHB Now on September 17, 2018 • 0 Comments Three-fourths of the total cost of building a typical home goes to subcontractors. So as they get harder to find, it’s getting especially hard for projects to stay on schedule and on budget. Single-family builders who responded to a recent NAHB survey listed which workers they are struggling the most to find. Topping the list: shortages of rough carpenters were reported by 90% of builders — the highest-ever portion for any occupation in residential construction in the survey’s history. NAHB economist Paul Emrath wrote about the findings in Eye On Housing and offered possible explanations for the severe shortage of subcontractors: One is that workers who were laid off during the housing downturn and subsequently started their own businesses have since returned to work for larger companies. Regardless of the reasons, the widespread shortages continue to restrain the pace of construction, further driving up construction costs, which are increasingly being absorbed by the home buyer. However, the shortages are also affecting builders’ bottom lines by causing lost or canceled sales and making some projects unprofitable. “Housing affordability is at a 10-year low, and that means it will become increasingly difficult to pass along higher construction costs to home buyers,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz wrote in the latest issue of Eye on the Economy. “Builders in many markets may find supply-related cost increases will slow sales now more than in recent years due to elevated pricing.” Making matters worse, shortages are likely to intensify in the near term for some markets, particularly those in and around the Carolinas. “As the impact of Hurricane Florence affects North and South Carolina — home to 9% of the nation’s single-family construction — and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic, we can expect increased demand for construction workers and higher building material costs as the region recovers,” Dietz noted. “As we saw last year in the wake of the storms that devastated portions of Texas and Florida, these impacts will lower production volume while increasing costs for a number of months in and around the affected regions.” For more, go to Eye On...

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