NAR’s Yun: Housing Starts Are ‘Vastly Inadequate’

NAR’s Yun: Housing Starts Are ‘Vastly Inadequate’
National Association of REALTORS®
article by Daily Real Estate News | March 19, 2018

House 1035Fewer new homes were in the pipeline in February, as housing starts for combined multifamily and single-family homes plunged 7 percent month over month, the U.S. Commerce Department reports. Housing production for the month was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.24 million units.

“The fall in housing starts in February is a movement in the wrong direction,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. “The key to economic prosperity at this juncture of economic expansion is to produce more new homes. That will help with job creation and reduce the swift price appreciation in several markets.”

A total of 1.2 million homes were constructed last year, which Yun calls “vastly inadequate.” February’s figure is just barely above year-ago levels, he adds. “It’s not enough,” Yun says. “While relaxing regulations on small-sized community banks may spur more construction loans for building, labor shortages in the industry continue to stunt overall activity.”

Multifamily production plunged 26.1 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 334,000 units, while single-family starts eked out a 2.9 percent gain to 902,000 units. Still, rising buyer demand, along with record-low inventory, has prompted calls from many in the real estate industry for builders to add more new homes.

Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, says developers are trying to manage rising construction costs to keep home prices competitive. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz says the uptick in single-family production in February follows the organization’s 2018 forecast for gradual, modest strengthening in the new-construction market.

Combined single-family and multifamily home production rose by the highest amount in the Midwest last month, up 7.6 percent month over month. However, housing starts dropped 12.9 percent in the West, 7.3 percent in the South, and 3.5 percent in the Northeast.

Source: National Association of REALTORS® and National Association of Home Builders; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 031918

Nationally: Cash Sales Soar to Post-Recession High

Nationally: Cash Sales Soar to Post-Recession High
National Association of Home Builders article by Daily Real Estate News | January 29, 2018

Cash sales accounted for 8 percent of new-home sales in the fourth quarter of 2017, matching a high that has not been seen since 2014, the National Association of Home Builders reports on its Eye on Housing blog. Cash sales make up an even larger share of existing-home sales—about 20 percent in December, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Cash hardly makes up the bulk of financing options for buyers, however. The share of new homes financed with conventional mortgages has dropped slightly from 73.2 percent to 72.7 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2017, 12.9 percent of new-home buyers used FHA loans. The share of sales financed with FHA-backed mortgages has dropped 4 percentage points since reaching a peak in the second quarter of 2015.

NAHB_chart

“Different sources of financing serve distinct market segments, which is revealed in part by the median new-home price associated with each,” the NAHB reports. “In the second quarter, the national median sales price of a new home was $321,100. Split by types of financing, the median prices of new homes financed with conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and cash were $347,800, $233,900, $294,400, and $349,300, respectively.”

Source: “Cash Sales Tie Post-Recession High,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Jan. 26, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 012918

Builders Reveal Top 10 Biggest Concerns

Builders Reveal Top 10 Biggest Concerns
National Association of Home Builders   article by Daily Real Estate News | January 17, 2018

House Construction 103Homebuilding is still falling short in many markets in alleviating the shrinking inventories of homes for sale. But builders are blaming the construction shortfall on several factors.

Builders revealed the following top 10 “significant” problems they expect to face in 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index:

  1. Cost/availability of labor: 84%
  2. Building material prices: 84%
  3. Cost/availability of developed lots: 62%
  4. Impact/hook up/inspection or other fees: 60%
  5. Local/state environment regulations and policies: 45%
  6. Inaccurate appraisals: 42%
  7. Federal environment regulations and policies: 42%
  8. Difficulty obtaining zoning/permit approval: 42%
  9. Gridlock/uncertainty in Washington making buyers cautious: 42%
  10. Development standards (parling, setbacks, etc.): 38%

Once again for 2018, builders said the cost and availability of labor is their chief concern. The number of builders who are reporting this as a problem is growing. In 2017, 82 percent of builders said cost and availability of labor was their top concern; the percentage has grown to 84 percent of builders heading in 2018.

The availability of labor started growing as a problem among builders since 2011. In 2011, just 13 percent of builders rated labor as a significant problem, but by 2012, the percentage jumped to 30 percent and has ever since continued to increase each year.

“Both the availability of labor and lots highlight the expected constraints of a recovering housing market,” the NAHB reports.

Source: “Building Materials Prices and Labor Access Top Challenges for 2018,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Jan. 16, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 011718

Nationally: New-Home Sales Hit 10-Year High

Nationally: New-Home Sales Hit 10-Year High
National Association of Home Builders    article by Daily Real Estate News | October 25, 2017

House 1030Sales of newly built single-family homes rose 18.9 percent last month, according to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This represented the highest sales rate since October 2007, with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000 units, after an upwardly revised August reading. Compared to last year, new-home sales are 8.6 percent above their level during the same period in 2016.

“New-home sales have bounced back from a few soft months and have returned to the strong growth trend we saw earlier this year,” says National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “As existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect new homes sales to continue to make gains in the months ahead.”

These gains in sales continue alongside tight inventory, providing downward pressure on affordability. In a recent REALTOR® Magazine column, National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun urged the industry to recognize the impact that the “massive housing shortage” has on the overall the economy: “We need more construction. An economic boom, not unlike the one we had almost 70 years ago, could result.”

Looking deeper into the sales data, realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale noted a contrast between pricing and the amount buyers ultimately pay for new homes. “The growth in prices for new homes also shows signs of slowing, though that hasn’t yet appeared in home listing prices, which are up 10 percent from a year ago,” she says. “The discrepancy between list price increases and sales price increases suggests that some buyers may have reached a limit on the price increases they can afford, but sellers have not yet caught on.”

New-home sales increased in all four regions, rising 33.3 percent in the Northeast, 25.8 percent in the South, 10.6 percent in the Midwest, and 2.9 percent in the West. Home sales in the South had been greatly hampered by hurricane-related setbacks. All regions showed an increase in sales from last month, and all regions except the Midwest also show growth when compared to a year ago.

Source: “New Home Sales Pace in September Hits 10-Year High,” National Association of Home Builders (Oct. 25, 2017); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 102517


Kenneth Bargers, REALTOR® License 318311 ♦ Pilkerton Realtors License 257352
(615) 512-9836 cellular ♦ (615) 371-2474 office
kb@bargers-solutions.com emailkb@kennethbargers.realtor email
www.bargers-solutions..com webkennethbargers.com blog
2 Cadillac Drive, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027 address

Porches Are Making a Comeback

Porches Are Making a Comeback
National Association of Home Builders article by Daily Real Estate News | October 6, 2017

More new homes are coming equipped with front porches. Sixty-five percent of new single-family homes started in 2016 included a porch, according to a Census data analysis from the National Association of Home Builders. It’s only the second time since tracking began that new single-family homes with porches have moved back above 65 percent. For comparison, in 2005, 54 percent of new homes had porches.

Certain regions of the U.S. are showing higher preference for porches. For example, the East-South-Central region of the U.S. had the highest share of new homes started in 2016 with porches at 86 percent.

Front porches_NAHB

The Census data from the Survey of Construction report does not indicate much information about the look of the porches. However, the NAHB reports that the Annual Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs, shows that front porches on new homes tend to be more common than side porches. Also, most new home porches are open rather than screened.

The average size of a front porch on a new home is about 60 square feet, according to the report. The materials used often tend to be concrete and treated wood. However, some regions—like the Mountain and Pacific areas of the U.S.—tend to favor redwood over treated wood for their front porches.

Source: “Share of New Homes With Porches Back Over 65 Percent,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Oct. 5, 2017); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 100617


Kenneth Bargers, REALTOR® License 318311 ♦ Pilkerton Realtors License 257352
(615) 512-9836 cellular ♦ (615) 371-2474 office
kb@bargers-solutions.com emailkb@kennethbargers.realtor email
www.bargers-solutions..com webkennethbargers.com blog
2 Cadillac Drive, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027 address

Home Lot Sizes Shrink to New Low

Home Lot Sizes Shrink to New Low
National Association of Home Builders    article by Daily Real Estate News | October 5, 2017

Lot sizes on new single-family homes have reached a new record low. New homes sold in 2016 had a median lot size of 8,562 square feet, or slightly under one-fifth of an acre.

The median lot size fell to under 8,600 square feet in 2015, according to the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction data. Lot sizes have continued to shrink since then.

Location plays a big role. For example, the median lot size in the New England region is nearly twice as large as the national median, exceeding a third of an acre.

“New England is known for its strict local zoning regulations that often require very low densities,” the National Association of Home Builders notes on its Eye on Housing blog. “Therefore, it is not surprising that more than half of single-family spec homes started in New England are built on some of the largest lots in the nation, with more than half of the lots exceeding a third of an acre.”

On the other hand, the Pacific region—where densities are often high and developed land is more scarce—has the smallest lots. Half of the lots in the region are under 0.15 acres.

NAHB graphic_lot sizes

Source: “Lot Size Is at a Record Low,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Oct. 3, 2017); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 100317


Kenneth Bargers, REALTOR® License 318311 ♦ Pilkerton Realtors License 257352
(615) 512-9836 cellular ♦ (615) 371-2474 office
kb@bargers-solutions.com emailkb@kennethbargers.realtor email
www.bargers-solutions..com webkennethbargers.com blog
2 Cadillac Drive, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027 address

New Home Inventory at 20-Year Low

New Home Inventory at 20-Year Low
National Association of Home Builders    article by Daily Real Estate News | August 17, 2017

House 1016Builders failed to ramp up inventories last month, despite increasing demand from home buyers and calls from the real estate industry. New-home construction dropped 4.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million units, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Development reported Wednesday.

Single-family production fell 0.5 percent month over month in July to an adjusted annual rate of 856,000. The July reading does follow a strong, upwardly revised June reading, the National Association of Home Builders notes. Single-family starts are 8.6 percent higher than a year ago.

Multifamily starts, meanwhile, plunged 15.3 percent last month to 299,000 units.

“New-home production numbers this month are in line with our forecast for a slow and steady recovery of the housing market,” says Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist. “We saw multifamily production peak in 2015, and this sector should continue to level off as demand remains solid.”

Overall, inventories of homes for sale are at a 20-year low, according to realtor.com® data. Economists have been calling for new-home construction to help make up the shortfall in the market.

“The housing shortage in America will intensify if new construction remains as lackluster as it was in July,” Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTORS®’ chief economist, said in a statement. “The softening multifamily housing starts brought down the overall new housing unit additions to the second lowest monthly activity this year. Moreover, the latest 15 percent drop in multifamily housing starts and 0.5 percent drop in single-family starts will hold back economic growth potential. Because of this shortage, expect rents and home prices to rise by at least twice as fast as the broad consumer price index.”

Regionally, combined single-family and multifamily housing production increased only in the South in July, inching up 0.6 percent month over month. Housing starts posted a 15.7 percent month-over-month drop in the Northeast, a 15.2 percent drop in the Midwest and fell by 1.6 percent in the West.

Housing permits, a gauge of future construction, dropped 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.22 million units. Single-family permits mostly held steady at 811,000 units while multifamily permits dropped 11.2 percent to 412,000.

Source: National Association of Home Builders and National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 081717

Kenneth Bargers REALTOR® License 318311  |  Pilkerton Realtors License 257352
(615) 512-9836 cellular  •  (615) 915-5901 facsimile  •  kb@bargers-solutions.com email
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