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State & National Updates

Demand is high but inventory is low

March 12, 2018

Business Matters

First-Time Home Buyers Deflated but not Deterred

Demand is high but inventory is low.

HBI Receives $50 Million Grant to Train 20,000 Skilled Workers

The Home Depot Foundation's generous donation supports NAHB's workforce development arm.

'Qualified Business Income' and You

Tax Reform Toolkit blog post covers the basics.

What's the Next Wave in Smart Home Technology?

The answer can be summed up in two words.

 

On Capitol Hill

NAHB Talks Regulatory Reform with Lawmakers

Chairman Randy Noel cites progress but stresses the job is not done.

Download Housing Data by Congressional District

New Internet portal helps housing  providers and advocates.

 


Builder testifies on ways to improve how OSHA operates.

 

Inside Washington

A Better Approach to Enhance Worker Safety

Builder testifies on ways to improve how OSHA operates.

NLRB Restores Obama-era Joint Employer Standard

Surprise move highlights need for a legislative solution.

New Tax Regulations Affect Transportation Subsidies

Few will be happy with these changes.

WOTUS Rule on Hold Until 2020

In the interim, NAHB will work with the administration to craft a new rule.

 

Economics

U.S. to Impose Stiff Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Builders are already grappling with 20% tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.

Starts and Sales Tell Two Tales

Meanwhile, the median size of new homes continues to decline.

Housing Slow Out of the Gate in 2018

Higher interest rates could be causing short-term market volatility.

Around the Nation

Alabama HBA's New Course Tackles Appraisal Issues

A win-win for appraisers and builders.

Inmates Get Second Chance to Re-enter the Workforce

HBA of Greater Kansas City in unique partnership to train workers.

 


Total housing starts posted strong gains in January, up almost 10% to a 1.33 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.

February 28, 2018

 

January Starts, Sales Tell Different Stories

Total housing starts posted strong gains in January, up almost 10% to a 1.33 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. Single-family construction recorded a nearly 4% rise in January, with the three-month moving average near a post-recession high. The increases in construction activity mirror solid levels for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which registered a level of 72 in February — near a two-decade high. The volatile multifamily data was up 24% in January. 

 

Contracts for sales of newly built single-family homes disappointed in January, declining by almost 8%. However, these numbers were at odds with other reports, including ongoing housing price growth and individual builder reports of sales. But the drop matched pending sales of existing homes, which dropped 4.7 in January. Though the January new home sales data will likely be revised up, current inventory of new, ready-to-occupy homes available for sale remains tight.

 

The median size of new homes continues to decline as the market broadens to include more entry-level homes. The townhouse market grew 7% in 2017, while at the upper end, custom homes saw a more modest growth rate of 2%. The home building and remodeling sectors should continue to expand overall in 2018, fueled by healthy labor conditions and wage gains. The improving economy and increases in income will largely help to offset the hindrance of higher interest rates on housing demand. 
 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

Starts Status

Total Housing Starts Near Post-Recession High

A strong showing from the multifamily sector led to January's jump. 

Multifamily Built-for-Rent Share Remains Elevated

Starts of rentals accounted for 95% of the multifamily market. 

Townhouse Construction Expands

After a brief lull, the market share of town homes is rising again. 

Custom Building Increases Slightly in 2017

Market share is now 20%, compared to a cycle high of 31.5% set in 2009.

Small Gains for Single-Family Built-for-Rent Construction

Nearly one-third of starts in 2017 came in the fourth quarter. 

Industry Insights

Double-Digit Drop in OSB Prices

The steep decline brings prices back to January 2017 levels. 

Builder Confidence Stays Strong

Housing demand remains positive, but supply-side hurdles persist. 

Home Prices Rose in December

All 20 of the nation's metro areas reported positive annual growth rates.  

Apartment and Condominium Market Ends 2017 on a Positive Note

The majority of builders report market conditions are improving. 

Economic Indicators

Pending Home Sales Start 2018 Lower

Sales level dropped to the lowest level since 2014 due to rising rates and low inventory. 

Inflation Steady with Growth in January

Average hourly earnings are growing, but not at pre-recession rates. 

New Home Size Continues to Fall

Further declines are expected as the entry-level market expands.

Permits Grow Across Most States Over 2017

Twenty states saw growth above 9.6%, but five states recorded a decline.

 


It can be described in one word.

Sales & Marketing

The Key to Successful Sales

It can be described with one word. 

55+ Builders See New Housing Trends in Florida

Not all buyers in this demographic are downsizers.

Economics

Builder Confidence Stays Strong in February

Sales expectations are at a post-recession high. 

Housing Production Makes Healthy Gains

New year starts with a surge in multifamily. 

 

 

Industry Insight

Driverless Cars Might Take Housing Along for the Ride

Emerging technology could affect where buyers decide to live. 

How Long do Buyers Search for a Home?

The reason why it takes longer than three months for most shoppers. 

 

 


Last week's labor market report, ostensibly showing positive news in the form of 2.9% year-over-year gains for earnings, increased volatility for stock prices as investors reassessed their outlook for market risk and interest rates.

February 14, 2018

 

Rising Rates, Higher Wages: A Counterbalance on Affordability

Last week's labor market report, ostensibly showing positive news in the form of 2.9% year-over-year gains for earnings, increased volatility for stock prices as investors reassessed their outlook for market risk and interest rates. Wage gains are good news for rental and for-sale housing demand, but income growth without improvements for worker productivity can be inflationary. 

 

While inflation remains tame, it is showing signs of an increase. For example, the three-month moving average annual change of core CPI is now at 2.9%, the highest since August 2011. As a result, interest rates have increased significantly over the last month, with the 10-year Treasury bond near 2.9%. Higher rates for the 10-year Treasury will push up mortgage rates, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage now averaging above 4.3%

 

Rising rates increase the cost of buying a home with a mortgage. However, higher incomes are particularly helpful for home buyers saving for a downpayment and help counter the negative effect of higher mortgage rates on housing affordability. This environment can yield overall positive outcomes for housing, provided the wage gains are accompanied by improvement for productivity in the post-tax reform economy.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

Employment Conditions

Solid Job Growth in January

Labor Bureau reports employment rose by 200,000 last month. 

Construction Job Openings Decline 

Home builders and remodelers added 32,000 net jobs. 

Fed Survey: Concerns Exist Despite Economic Improvement

Lending standards have eased, but employment could be an issue. 

Employment Rose in 33 States in December

All but two states saw year-over-year growth. 

Industry Insights

Home Search Takes More Than 3 Months for Most Buyers

NAHB survey reveals key reasons why more shoppers aren't pulling the trigger. 

Driverless-Car Concept Gaining Favor Among Consumers

Most adults say they would consider buying a self-driving car. 

Single-Family Builders Score High on Energy Efficiency

Nearly 3 in 4 homes met or exceeded the threshold for an NGBS bronze rating. 

Housing Affordability Remained Flat in 2017

National median home price dipped slightly in the fourth quarter. 

Tiny Homes Might Have Potential Buyers

Poll shows millennials aren't the only ones interested in tiny homes. 

Economic Indicators

55+ Households Account for $62 Trillion in Net Worth

Key demographic holds two-thirds of the nation's home equity. 

Homeownership Rates Rise for All Minority Groups

Rates still vary significantly between races. 

Metro Areas Across the Country Show Continued Improvement

House prices have normalized in nearly 99% of metro areas. 

Inflation Steady with Growth in January

Broad-based measure is up 2.1% over the last year.

Interest Rates Tick Up

Measures to finance the tax cuts could continue to push up long-term rates. 

 


Measure contains key NAHB housing tax priorities.

February 12, 2018

Economics

Housing Tax Extenders Included in Budget Accord

Measure contains key NAHB housing tax priorities. 

Millennials Lead the Homeownership Resurgence

A notable upswing among those under the age of 35. 

Housing Affordability Remained Flat in 2017

A number of factors could signal affordability woes in the first quarter.

55+ Households Account for Two-Thirds of America's Home Equity

This key demographic holds the lion's share of household wealth. 

Industry Insights

Finding Hidden Profits From Change Orders

Vague contracts could be costing you significant time and money.  

Scary Truths About Jobsite Fatalities

More than 4 out of 10 of these deaths are attributed to falls. 

Competing with Big Builders the Smart Way

Key strategies to finding and purchasing land. 

Legal

NAHB Seeks Nationwide Injunction on WOTUS Rule

Coalition argues the rule is likely unlawful. 

 

 

 


The Weekly News Digest of NAHB

January 29, 2018

Sales & Marketing

What Millennial Home Buyers Want

The nation's largest demographic group has some strong opinions.  

So Much is Cooking in Today's Kitchen Designs

There's an abundance of choices for consumers. 

Triple Play

3 Keys to a Killer Website

It's not about analytics, it's about sales. 

How to Prepare a Profitable Project

This three-part live webinar series provides the answers. 

3 Pioneering Products to Watch

All share a global commitment to innovation. 

 

 

 

Close to Home

Young Professionals Find a Path to Success

Networking helps build a better business. 

NAHB's Associate Committee Honors Dedicated Members

Five awards presented during the 2018 IBS. 

New Home Sales Post Healthy Gains in 2017

December's reading is down from a strong November showing. 

 

Legal

Supreme Court WOTUS Ruling a Win for NAHB

Decision allows litigation to move forward. 

Missing Frog the Center of Endangered Species Case 

High court to rule on "unoccupied critical habitat" designation. 

 


Builder confidence reached a nearly 19-year high at the end of 2017, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index

January 18, 2018

 

Housing's Strong Finish in 2017

Builder confidence reached a nearly 19-year high at the end of 2017, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. While the first reading of 2018 wasn't quite as high, a positive level of 72 indicates a solid amount of continued optimism. Additionally, the Remodeling Market Index showed strength, coming in at a level of 60 and marking its 19th consecutive quarter in positive territory.

 

While housing starts dipped slightly in December, the 2017 totals for single-family construction were positive — nearly 9% above the 2016 totals. Multifamily starts, however, were down almost 10% as that market finds a balance between supply and demand. NAHB expects single-family starts to increase nearly 5% in 2018, while multifamily starts will decline slightly.

 

A recent NAHB survey of builders identified the top concerns for the industry. Building material prices and labor costs/availability were cited by 84% of builders as significant problems they expect to face in 2018. The next most commonly cited challenge was the cost/availability of lots, referenced by 62% of builders. Despite these obstacles, the industry continues to expand, adding 86,400 jobs over the last year as housing demand continues to rise. 

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

Industry Insights

Single-Family Sector Boosts Housing Production

Starts declined in December, but 2017 overall saw significant gains. 

Builder Confidence Remains Strong as New Year Starts

Changes to the tax code expected to boost small business and the broader economy. 

Softwood Lumber, OSB and Gypsum Lead 2017 Price Increases

Prices for all major construction materials increased last year. 

Pending Sales Rose in November

Some experts project existing home sales and price growth will slow.  

Apartment and Condo Absorption Climbs

The 2017 rate is still lower compared to those seen from 2012 to 2015. 

Economic Indicators

Property Tax Revenue Increases Yet Again

It has been five and a half years since the last decline. 

Consumer Confidence Drops in December

But the portion of prospective home buyers increased from the previous month. 

Mortgage Rates Rose in 2017

However, rates remain at historically low levels.

Core Inflation Remains Steady

Energy prices largely contributed to the increase.

Southern and Western States Lead Population Growth

Eight states registered population declines in 2017. 

Employment Conditions

Materials Prices, Labor Access Top Challenges for 2018

Attempts to limit the mortgage interest deduction also a widespread concern.

Share of Immigrant Workers Continues to Grow

U.S.-born workers have been more reluctant to return to construction.  

Report Estimates 148,000 New Jobs in December

Unemployment remained at 4.1% for the third consecutive month.

Employment Increased in Most States

Texas, California and New York enjoyed the largest growth.

 


Confidence among builders at the end of 2017 reached its highest measure in more than 18 years. Much of that optimism is due to tight existing home inventory, a solid economy with low unemployment, and an improving policy environment that offers hope for reduced regulatory burdens.

January 4, 2018


Builders Start the New Year Filled with Optimism
Confidence among builders at the end of 2017 reached its highest measure in more than 18 years. Much of that optimism is due to tight existing home inventory, a solid economy with low unemployment, and an improving policy environment that offers hope for reduced regulatory burdens.

Census estimates of home construction also helped fuel the rise in builder confidence. By November, single-family starts were up 9% on a year-to-date basis, and sales of new single-family homes had increased 17.5% from the month prior — reaching the fastest sales pace in more than 10 years. Growth for residential construction is expected to continue, as a growing share of new homes are being sold from the "not under construction" class.

However, supply-side headwinds will continue to hamper housing in 2018, as will the tight labor market and rising prices for materials. The Federal Reserve will continue to increase interest rates, which will slowly reduce housing affordability, though that impact will be offset by increases in after-tax income. Some markets — particularly high-tax/high-cost markets in coastal areas — will experience some negative effects due to tax law changes. But from a national perspective, single-family construction will continue to expand.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Starts and Sales


New Home Sales Hit Post-Recession High in November

All regions of the U.S. reported growth, led by a 30% uptick in the Northeast.  


Existing Sales Surge in November

Year-end rally leads to the most sales since December 2006.


Private Residential Spending on the Rise

Single-family construction spending increased to its highest annual rate in a decade.

 
Permit Volume Grows in Most States

State-by-state comparisons show Texas atop most lists of permits issued.


Strong Estimates for Single-Family Starts

The rise in starts aligns with increased builder confidence. 

 

Industry Insights


Housing Market Primed to Expand in 2018

Builders enter year with high hopes for improved regulations.


Number of Hispanic Construction Business Owners Rises

Every age group saw growth between 2007 and 2012.


Homeownership Rate Increases

NAHB analysis shows more minorities are buying homes.


NAHB Economics Presentations to Attend at IBS

Several industry experts will offer analyses of what to expect in 2018.


Construction Trades Can Often Lead to Higher Paying Jobs

Study finds eight senior positions in home building typically filled by someone with trade experience.


Economic Indicators

 

Economic Growth Exceeds Potential in 3rd Quarter

It was the fastest growth rate since the first quarter of 2015.


Consumer Spending Up, Savings Rate Down

Disposable income rose for three consecutive months. 


Housing Share of GDP Declined in 3rd Quarter

Home building and remodeling component held steady.


Home Prices Continue to Increase in October

Price appreciation continues to impact housing affordability.


 


After a mild 2016, economic growth gained momentum in 2017.

December 14, 2017

 

Housing's Growth Tempered by Tight Labor, Costly Materials

After a mild 2016, economic growth gained momentum in 2017. New jobs continue to be produced and unemployment (4.1%) is low. While this is positive news for housing demand, the unceasingly tight labor market conditions mean increased competition among employers for a smaller number of available workers. This is one of the reasons the construction industry continues to see an elevated number of open jobs: 227,000 in October, near a post-recession high. It also implies additional wage growth in the year ahead.  

 

Builders can also expect continued growth in the cost of building materials. Since the beginning of the year, OSB prices have jumped 30%, softwood lumber prices are up almost 15% and gypsum prices have increased almost 8%. Additional building material supply is needed as the home building sector grows. However, duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber of almost 21% accomplish the opposite of what the industry and home buyers need. NAHB estimates that the tariff on lumber imports alone is responsible for a nearly 7% price increase and has already driven up the price of a new home by an average of $1,360.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Lending & Spending

Record-Setting Pace of Price Increases Continues

OSB and softwood saw the biggest jumps. 

Single-Family Construction Spending Up in October

Modest gains followed a slight dip the previous month. 

Growth Rate for Residential Construction Loans Picks Up

Uptick in the quarterly growth rate is good news for home building. 

Mortgage Rates Remain Low

Rates on new home purchases have fallen five basis points since June.

Industry Insights

How Canadian Lumber Duties Will Impact U.S. Economy in 2018

NAHB estimates nearly $1 billion in worker wages and government revenue could be lost. 

Construction Job Openings Rise in October

Hurricane recovery efforts exacerbated an already-fragile job market. 

Home Owners' Equity Improves

Market value of owner-occupied real estate is up $1.57 billion from a year ago. 

Pending Sales Rebound from Hurricanes

Strong demand still moderated by a decreasing inventory of existing homes. 

Economic Indicators

Solid Employment Gains in November

Unemployment rate reached its lowest level since 2001.

Personal Income and Spending Increase in October

Disposable income has grown 1.6% in the last year. 

GDP Growth Stronger than Initially Estimated 

Personal consumption was the biggest contributor. 

Top 10 States for GDP Growth in 2nd Quarter

Majority of states experienced accelerated growth. 

 


The latest economic news from NAHB

November 30, 2017

 

Rising Starts and Sales Indicate More Gains Ahead

October was a good month for housing. Single-family and multifamily housing starts rose by almost 14%. Single-family starts (877,000) are at a post-recession high and have grown 8% on a year-to-date basis compared to last year. 


And rising home sales indicate more gains are in store for residential construction. Existing home sales expanded 2% in October, while inventory fell for the 29th consecutive month to only a 4.4 months' supply. Newly built single-family homes sales rose 6% last month, recording its strongest reading in a decade.

 

At this sales pace, there is only a 4.9 months' supply of new homes available. Moreover, a rising share of new home sales is coming from homes that have not yet begun construction, pointing to additional gains for construction in the near term.

 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Prices and Sales

New Home Sales Reach Strongest Pace in a Decade

Shrinking inventory of existing homes gives more momentum to new home construction.

Existing Sales Up 2% in October

Share of first-time buyers increased to 32%.

Home Price Appreciation Continues 

All 20 of the U.S. metro areas had positive annual growth.

Housing Starts

Slight Gains for Custom Home Building

Volume is expanding, but overall market share is seeing declines. 

Construction of Multifamily Rentals on the Rise 

Starts ticked back up to an elevated level of 95% in the third quarter. 

Townhouse Construction Growth Continues

Starts in the third quarter were 18% higher than a year ago. 

Housing Starts Rise in October

Solid readings from the single-family sector. 

Industry Insights

AD&C Financing Conditions Ease at a Slower Pace

All major categories of lending continue to report easing standards. 

How Many Toilets, Showers are in Newer Homes? 

NAHB study examines bathroom fixture trends through several decades. 

Multifamily Developer Confidence Weakens 

Third-quarter index reading the lowest since 2011. 

Declining New Home Size Trend Continues

Median size of a new single-family home has decreased to 2,378 square feet. 

 


Tax and Monetary Policy Impacts on Housing


Tax reform is the big debate in Washington, and the stakes are high. Certain components of the proposals would sideline and limit the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions — two major factors in determining the costs and incentives of homeownership. Other elements of the proposals would provide reductions in small business and corporate tax rates and, due to NAHB advocacy efforts, protect the business interest deduction for real estate development firms.

Side-by-side, the Senate plan is much better for housing. It offers more generally favorable treatment for S Corps and LLCs due its rate schedule and more usable 17.4% pass-through business income deduction, while also protecting important affordable housing policies like the LIHTC and the tax-exempt bond program.

Change is also coming for monetary policy. Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell has been nominated to replace Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, whose term ends in February. Powell is an excellent choice for the housing sector and will likely maintain the Fed's current approach to monetary policy with gradual interest rate increases and balance sheet reductions.

Given current market challenges — highlighted by recent reports concerning ongoing labor shortages, declining housing affordability and lagging single-family construction — tax reform and monetary policy should promote economic growth while recognizing the important role the housing industry plays in the overall economy. 

 

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


November 13, 2017

Inside Washington

Senate Tax Reform Bill a Better Starting Point

NAHB continues to fight for a homeownership tax credit.

House Passes Joint Employer Bill

Measure would provide certainty to small businesses.

Controlling Silica Exposure

Tool manufacturers suggest products to help builders comply.

 

The Evolution of the Building Envelope

Through the last few decades, the building industry has seen immense innovations that have contributed to safer, faster building practices and more energy-efficient homes.

 

Industry Insight

Massachusetts Builders, NAHB Rein in a Federal Land Grab

Nearly 1 million acres would have been placed under Clean Water Act control.

2018 ICC Code Adoption Kits Now Available

NAHB resources focus on cost-effective code changes.

Los Angeles Ranked Least Affordable Housing Market

San Francisco had held the top spot for the past five years.

 


Current version of Republican tax plan is unacceptable, says Granger MacDonald.

Economics


NAHB Prepares Tax Reform Offensive

Current version of Republican tax plan is unacceptable, says Granger MacDonald.


Labor and Material Costs Rising Faster Than Lot Prices

The challenge for builders is managing development costs.


New Home Sales Pace in September Hits 10-Year High

A return to the strong growth trend seen earlier this year.

 

Rules & Regulations

 

Silica Rule Now Being Enforced

OSHA issues interim guidance for inspectors.


NAHB Members Tell Regulators How to Define WOTUS

Builders explain the thicket of regulations they must navigate.


EPA Chief, Builders Talk Stormwater Enforcement

NAHB details how the agency can improve the process.

 

Business Matters


Hitting the 'Reset Button' and Finding Success

Joining his local HBA helps a Texas remodeler begin anew.


Spotlight on Construction Trades: Painting and Masonry

A look at two rewarding career paths in home building.


Say 'No' to IAPMO Duct Proposal

Code request could add more than $5,000 to the cost of a new home.


Construction Contracts & Law Live Online

This three-part webinar series will help protect your business.

 


Framework would lower business and individual tax rates.

Inside Washington


NAHB Commends GOP Tax Reform Plan

Framework would lower business and individual tax rates.


30-Day 'Good Faith' Enforcement of New Silica Rule

NAHB provides resources to help builders comply.


GOP the New Majority on the Labor Board

Latest Senate confirmation is an important change to the housing industry.

 

Business Matters

 

Restarting Your Business After a Natural Disaster

Tips to get you up and running again.


Green Home Building is Sprouting

New study shows that green homes are gaining market share.
 


After a slow start to the year, economic growth accelerated in the spring. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP growth stepped up to a 2.6% annual rate in the second quarter, a significant improvement over the 1.2% rate registered for the first three months of 2017. NAHB forecasts the economy's modest growth will continue over the near term.

Economic Growth Picks Up the Pace

 

After a slow start to the year, economic growth accelerated in the spring. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP growth stepped up to a 2.6% annual rate in the second quarter, a significant improvement over the 1.2% rate registered for the first three months of 2017. NAHB forecasts the economy's modest growth will continue over the near term.

The homeownership rate is finally showing signs of stabilizing after years of decline. Census Bureau data for the second quarter showed a homeownership rate of 63.7%, after reaching a cycle low of 62.9% during the second quarter of 2016. Moreover, the Census data also showed that for two consecutive quarters, the U.S. housing market has added more home owners than renters.

Demand for owner-occupied housing will depend on the future of the labor market, which continues to be tight. Over the last two months, the economy has added an estimated 440,000 jobs. The residential construction labor force continues to expand, but at a slow pace. In the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 188,300 jobs. However, the count of open, unfilled construction sector jobs increased in June to 225,000 — the highest count since September 2016.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Industry Insights


Number of Open Construction Jobs Climbs

After declining in the previous month, unfilled jobs increased significantly in June.


Homeownership Rate Bottomed Out?

Census data show signs of stabilization after reaching a low point one year ago.


Pending Sales Break Losing Streak

Fewer investors meant first-time buyers had a better chance to enter the market.


Builder Confidence Strengthens in the 55+ Housing Market

Optimism has remained solid for three consecutive years.


Top 10 Sources of Softwood Lumber Imports

Financial incentives are growing for foreign companies to export their lumber to the U.S.


Economic Indicators

 

Economic Improvement Continues Across the Country

Since the first quarter of 2017, an additional 20 metro areas have achieved normal market activity.


Federal Open Market Committee Plans to Shrink Balance Sheet

Measures aim to "foster maximum employment and price stability."


Personal Income and Consumption Expenditures Flatten

The leveling off comes after six consecutive months of growth.


Solid Job Gains in July

The unemployment rate dropped back to its 16-year low of 4.3%.


Lending and Spending


Loan Officer Survey Reveals Easing Lending Standards

The recent findings can serve as reliable indicators of future economic growth.


FHA Financing of New Home Sales Dwindles

The share of FHA-backed mortgages dropped below 12% for the first time since 2014.


Mortgage Rates Tick Up on New Home Purchases

Rates are still below the peak of 4.18% recorded in February.


Private Residential Construction Spending Dips

June was the third consecutive month of decreases after a strong start to the year.


 


Legislation would reinstate sensible criteria for labor rule.

Inside Washington


Joint Employment Bill Gives Builders Clarity

Legislation would reinstate sensible criteria for labor rule.


Department of Labor Seeks Comments on Overtime Rule

NAHB will submit a detailed statement.


Economics


5 Lessons from the S&L Crisis

Builders can still learn from the events that took place 30 years ago.


New Home Sales Edge Higher in June

Sales have risen nearly 11% since the start of 2017.

 

Across the Nation

 

Solar Mandate in Miami Raises Concerns

The requirement is the first of its kind in Florida.


South Carolina Builders Meet with EPA Leaders

Administrator Pruitt gives an update on the "waters of the U.S." rule.


Feds Bring Regulatory Roundtables to Kentucky, Ohio

Forums offer a great opportunity to discuss federal regulations.


NAHB to weigh in on what rules need to be rescinded or modified.

July 24, 2017

Industry Insight

NAHB and House Panel Reach Agreement on Flood Insurance Bill

Legislation addresses concerns of housing community.

Treasury Eyes Repeal of Burdensome Regulations

NAHB to weigh in on what rules need to be rescinded or modified.

EPA Formally Withdraws National Post-Construction Rule

NAHB gets a win in long-running battle against excessive stormwater regulation.

Remodeling Market Confidence Remains Positive

Lack of skilled labor remains a serious issue.

Trending

NAHB Highlights How Homes are Changing Lives

The Drive Home illuminates inspirational stories.

Better Appraisals on Green Homes

Updated tool can provide a more accurate assessment.

Education Programs Provide Inspiration, Second Chances

Workforce development grants make a difference.

 

Economics

Builder Confidence Remains Solid

A slight slippage due in part to rising material prices.

Single-Family Starts Bounce Back in June

Production was at its second-highest rate this year.

 


Supply issues, rising prices tied to trade dispute.

Industry Insight


New Builder Concern: Lumber Shortages

Supply issues, rising prices tied to trade dispute.


CFPB Publishes Final 'Know Before You Owe' Rule

Updates clarify disclosures for construction loans.


Trending


High-End Development Down on the Farm

"Agrihoods" serve up farm-to-table living.


New School Year Brings New Opportunities

Learn how internship programs can boost your business.


 


Despite growing supply-side concerns, housing demand continues to be sustained by healthy job creation and optimistic consumers.

Job Growth Helps Propel Housing Demand

 

Despite growing supply-side concerns, housing demand continues to be sustained by healthy job creation and optimistic consumers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 220,000 jobs were created in June, with the unemployment rate increasing slightly to 4.4%. Moreover, home builders and remodelers added almost 116,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

Ongoing job creation has also helped support consumer optimism. The Consumer Confidence Index was up slightly in June, with one submeasure increasing to nearly 33% of respondents indicating jobs are plentiful. Incomes are also rising, with disposable personal income up 2.2% over the last year.

Economic challenges remain anchored on the supply side of the market, with a new softwood anti-dumping duty — in addition to existing countervailing duties — adding to builder costs. Moreover, the share of single-family home builders reporting shortages of framing lumber has increased to 21%.

For a midyear housing and economic market check, watch our construction forecast webinar, featuring NAHB's forecast and commentary from Moody's Mark Zandi and NAR's Danielle Hale.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz


Industry Insights


Builders Reporting Shortages of Framing Lumber

Ready-mix concrete and trusses are also increasingly in short supply.


Open Construction Jobs Decline in May

The labor market for construction workers remains tight as home building expands.


Lending and Spending

 

Residential Fixed Investment Reaches Near-Decade High

Housing's share of GDP holds strong. 


Private Residential Construction Spending Declines

The drop in May was the largest in three years.


Mortgage Rates Fall Again

Rates have slipped 18 basis points during the past three months.


Economic Indicators


Employment Gains Accelerated in June

Over the last year, home builders and remodelers have added 115,600 jobs.


Steady Growth in Personal Income

Disposable income in May had the largest monthly increase in two years.


How a Home Purchase Boosts Consumer Spending

NAHB analysis compares expenditures of new home buyers to non-moving home owners.

 


The Weekly News Digest for NAHB

Industry Insight


More Tariffs Slapped on Canadian Lumber Imports

NAHB denounces U.S. Commerce Department action.


EPA, Corps Act to Rescind WOTUS Rule

Agencies vow transparency in drafting replacement.


Safety


OSHA Delays Deadline to Dec. 1 for Electronic Injury Reporting

NAHB, other groups filed lawsuit challenging the requirement.


Confined Spaces Rule Clarified

NAHB fact sheet helps builders comply with standard.


July 13 Webinar Focuses on Fire Protection

Great tips to keep your jobsite safe from fire damage.

 

Economics

 

Home Buying Boosts the Economy

NAHB study shows impressive ripple effect.


Housing Demand in the Southeast Reaches 'New Normal'

The region is finding its sweet spot.


Digital Tools

 

Top 5 Mobile Apps for Home Builders

These tools help efficiently manage your projects.


Sales + Marketing Ideas Launches App

Get the latest ideas and trends on your smartphone or tablet.
 


A compilation of the week's top housing news.

ECONOMIC NEWS

 

Marketplace

Tight inventory slows down housing market

Vancouver, Washington, a bedroom community across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, has seen its inventory of homes for sale shrink as the housing market picked up after the Great Recession and available homes got snapped up. First-time home buyers and others looking for affordable homes see the area as an alternative to Portland, where rents and home prices have soared in recent years.


HousingWire
Not even housing inventory crisis can stop homebuyers

It seems nothing can stop housing demand, which just hit a new high, according to Redfin, an online real estate brokerage.


MarketWatch

Home-price growth sizzles in May, driving a wedge in the market

Home prices remained hot in May, bolstering owners' equity but locking many would-be buyers out of the market.


CNBC
Mortgage applications rise 1.4%, defying higher rates

The math doesn't exactly make sense, but perhaps the sentiment does. More borrowers applied for home loans last week, even as interest rates made their largest five-day jump since just after the presidential election. Perhaps some thought it might be their last chance at low rates.


NPR
Why isn't the housing market booming the way experts expected?

Interest rates are near historic lows and consumer confidence is high, but the market isn't booming. One reason may be mobility: people moving from state to state is half what it was two decades ago.

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

 

The Washington Post
Trump's budget plans have already cut financial support for low-cost housing

The pool of private funds available to build or preserve affordable housing in the United States has shrunk by about $1 billion since November, and President Trump's tax plan is to blame — even though it hasn't been adopted yet.


NPR
Affordable housing market hurt by tax overhaul uncertainty

The prospect of Trump's tax overhaul has cut the value of low-income housing tax credits 10 to 15 percent. Funding for units across the U.S. is in question, and less housing will be built as a result.


The Washington Post
A surprising way to increase property values: build affordable housing

Despite the lawsuits, media spotlight and conventional wisdom, affordable housing developments built in poor, heavily black communities can lead to greater racial and income integration, according to new research by Stanford economists.


USA Today
Housing help for Congress? How about for people who really need it?

Just before he departed the House last week to become a Fox News contributor, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz proposed a housing stipend for members of Congress. "I think a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington," he said. "You shouldn't have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress."

 

HOUSING FINANCE NEWS


National Mortgage News
'If not now, when?' Fed's Powell on GSE reform

Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell, who heads the agency's supervisory committee, called on lawmakers Thursday to move more quickly in crafting legislation to reform the government-sponsored enterprises, saying that "we're almost at a now-or-never moment here." (Subscription may be required.)


American Banker
Will housing finance reform hurt small banks?

The battle over the future of housing finance may turn on whether whatever reforms or replaces Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will bypass small banks, delivering more market share and power to the biggest banks. (Subscription may be required.)


CNBC
Two major lending changes mean it's suddenly easier to get a mortgage

Two major changes in the mortgage market go into effect this month, and both could help millions more borrowers qualify for a home loan. The changes will also add more risk to the mortgage market.

 

REMODELING

 

U.S. News & World Report
The pros and cons of live-in home flipping

Mindy Jensen and her husband Carl have made up to $100,000 every two years by buying a house, fixing it up while living in it full time and then selling it for a profit. Call it live-in flipping.


Las Vegas Review-Journal
Universal design makes homes accessible and pleasing

In our 40s, we've accepted the aches and pains that remind us we're no longer 25. That said, the last thing we want to think about is how our health might look in our 60s and 70s, much less what living accommodations we might need to handle our changing physical abilities.

 

HOUSING POLICY

 

Politico
Why Washington can't fix the new housing crisis

Donald Trump campaigned on restoring the "American dream," a 1931 metaphor for economic success that has become political shorthand for homeownership. But as president, Trump faces a unique challenge delivering on that promise: The country is in the grip of a new kind of housing crisis that Washington has virtually no power to solve.

 

LABOR


Construction Dive
Labor Dept. plans revision of stalled overtime rule

The U.S. Department of Labor has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to confirm that it is permitted to use salary as a factor in determining which workers are eligible for overtime before it begins a new rulemaking process to amend a pending overtime regulation, according to Bloomberg BNA.

 

APPRAISALS

 

Forbes
Appraisers may be holding back the housing market, and that might be okay

I want to warn you from the top, this is a highly speculative post in multiple directions at once. I have a theory as to what is holding back the housing market, and another theory as to why that might be a good thing. There isn't a lot of data to back up either claim, and I wouldn't elevate other above conjecture at this point. But stick with me anyway.

 


 


Inside Washington


Builders Take to the Halls of Congress

More than 800 members speak out as one voice on housing.


Rep. Westerman's Forestry Bill a 'Win-Win-Win'

NAHB testifies on need to increase lumber production from federal lands.


Flawed Flood Insurance Bill Clears House Panel

NAHB opposes "new construction" provision.


NAHB Officers Hold Productive Talks with HUD Secretary

Agenda focuses on regulatory reform and housing affordability.


Economics


Builder Sentiment: Still Solid

Confidence levels have remained consistently sound in 2017.


Multifamily Decline Brings Overall Housing Starts Down 5.5% in May

On a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are still up 7.2%.

 

Codes

 

How to Comply with the 2018 Building Codes

Free webinar replay provides the answers.


New Guidance Helps Insulate You from Poor Walls and Attics

Tech Note offers best practices for optimal installation.
 


A tightening labor market and a desire to normalize monetary policy led the Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee to tighten financial conditions.

Federal Reserve Policy Moves


A tightening labor market and a desire to normalize monetary policy led the Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee to tighten financial conditions.

First, the Federal Open Market Committee announced the second rate hike of 2017, increasing the target rate to a range of 1%-1.25%. NAHB expects one additional increase in 2017.

Second, the committee announced plans to reduce its balance sheet, which grew after the Great Recession as part of an accommodative policy known as quantitative easing. The balance sheet, which includes $1.8 trillion in agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, would be reduced in a "gradual and predictable" manner, creating only a slight increase in mortgage rates. The reductions in mortgage-backed securities would start at $4 billion and rise to $20 billion per month over a 12-month period and not result in a complete run-off of holdings. This process would likely begin at the end of 2017.

The Fed's actions are motivated by admittedly conflicting data. Measures of inflation remain below the Fed's 2% objective, but tight labor market conditions risk accelerating prices. For example, the unemployment rate was 4.3% in May and job openings persist at elevated levels, especially within the construction industry. The Fed's moves represent a belief that economic conditions continue to be solid and growth will continue.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Lending and Spending


Fed Raises Rates, Announces Balance Sheet Reduction Plan

The announced policy is intended to be "gradual and predictable." 


Softwood Lumber and OSB Prices Keep Climbing

May's increase pushed the softwood lumber price index to its highest level in nearly 13 years. 


Private Residential Construction Spending Slows in April

Declines largely stem from both the multifamily and home improvement sectors.


Home Equity Grows to $23.5 Trillion

More home owners are refinancing to cash out.


Mortgage Rates Fall

Though they remain above the low of 3.54% set in October 2016.

 

Economic Indicators


Consumer Credit Expands at a Slower Pace

Total household debt has returned to its 2008 peak level.


Pending Sales Slump

April declines were reported in all regions of the U.S. except one.


Employment Situation is Just a Little Disappointing

May's report is unlikely to alter the Fed's overall positive economic impressions.


Consumer Confidence Slightly Decreased in May

Optimism waned for the near-term outlook.


Industry Insights


Regional Patterns Emerge for Age of Construction Workers

Median ages are highest throughout the Northeast, lowest in the Midwest.


Who are NAHB's Associate Members?

Census illustrates the categories of those who are indirectly involved in home building.


Construction Job Openings Jump in April

Recent increases in quits reflect growing competition for workers.


Home Price Appreciation Slowed in March

Since November 2016, prices have been decelerating.

 


NAHB leads the charge to rescind this mandate.

OSHA Suspends Rule Requiring Electronic Reporting of Injuries

NAHB leads the charge to rescind this mandate.
 

Rules & Regulations


NAHB Targets 10 Overreaching Regulatory Programs

Comments were submitted to EPA in response to presidential directive.


HUD Task Force to Tackle Excessive Regulation

NAHB to weigh in on which rules should be repealed, replaced or modified.


Senate Panel Approves 3 NAHB-Supported Regulatory Bills

Versions of these measures have already passed the House.

 

Economics

 

Builder Confidence Continues to Climb

A further sign that the housing market is getting stronger.


Single-Family Starts Hold Steady in April

However, a multifamily pullback brings overall production down.