Lots Are Costing Buyers More

Lots Are Costing Buyers More
National Association of Home Builders | September 7, 2018

Lots may be getting smaller, but they’re also getting more expensive, according to analyzed data taken from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction. Single-family lot prices reached a new record high in 2017—half of the lots were priced at or above $47,400.

While this is a new nominal record, when adjusted for inflation, lot values have still not reached their peaks from the housing boom days, the National Association of Home Builders reports. During the housing boom, half of lots were priced at more than $43,000—this is more than $50,000 when converted to 2017 values.

However, some regions within the U.S. have seen their lot prices surpass their former peaks, even when adjusted for inflation. Rising lot values are the most pronounced in the West South Central and West North Central divisions, where lot values have climbed to new historical records.

The West South Central division—which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana—tended to have values below the national median historically but started to catch up in 2015 to national numbers. Half of the lots in the region are selling for more than $56,000, which is a significant increase from the housing boom years when half of lots were priced under $30,000.

The West North Central division—which includes Iowa, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota—also saw lot prices reach a record high. Half of the lots in the region were priced above $64,000 in 2017, which also exceeded values from the housing boom days.

NAHB lot prices

“Given that the nation’s lots are getting smaller and home production is still significantly below the historically normal levels, it might seem surprising that lot values keep going up,” the NAHB notes on its blog, Eye On Housing. “However, the rising values are consistent with persistent record lot shortages. They are also consistent with significant and rising regulatory costs that ultimately increase development costs and boost lot values.”

Source: “Lot Values Climb Higher,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye On Housing blog (Sept. 5, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine 090818

Nationally: New-Home Construction Surges to Highest Level in Decade

Nationally: New-Home Construction Surges to Highest Level in Decade
National Association of Home Builders | June 20, 2018

House 1052More new homes entered the pipeline in May than any other month since the end of the Great Recession. Total housing starts increased 5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate pace of 1.35 million units, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That marks the highest housing starts since July 2007.

Broken out, single-family starts rose 3.9 percent to 939,000 units in May—the second-highest reading since the Great Recession. The multifamily sector increased 7.5 percent to 414,000 units. Single-family and multifamily production are now 9.8 percent and 13.6 percent higher, respectively, than a year ago.

“New-home construction activity soared to its highest level in over a decade, which is fantastic news as more housing inventory will be available as the year proceeds,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®. “Moreover, construction and real estate industry jobs are being created and boosting the economy. [As a result,] GDP growth of 4 percent to 5 percent is possible in the second quarter.”

The Midwest saw the biggest jump in housing production last month, with combined single-family and multifamily housing starts rising 62.2 percent. Meanwhile, starts fell 0.9 percent in the South, by 4.1 percent in the West, and by 15 percent in the Northeast.

“The Midwest region experienced the biggest gain and hence the region will remain more affordable,” Yun notes. “The more unaffordable West region will continue to experience an intense housing shortage, as both housing permits and housing starts fell in that region. For the country as a whole, an additional 20 percent to 25 percent gain in home construction is needed to make the market more balanced.”

Housing starts will likely hit a snag in the coming weeks. Permits—a gauge of future activity—fell 4.6 percent in May to 1.3 million units. The biggest drop in permits was in the multifamily sector, which saw permits tumble 8.7 percent to 457,000. Single-family permits dropped 2.2 percent to 844,000.

“Ongoing job creation, positive demographics, and tight existing home inventory should spur more single-family production in the months ahead,” says Robert Dietz, the National Association of Home Builders’ chief economist. “However, the softening of single-family permits is consistent with our reports showing that builders are concerned over mounting construction costs, including the highly elevated prices of softwood lumber.”

Source: National Association of Home Builders; REALTOR® Mag Online, 062018