Builders to Confront Labor, Financing Challenges
More than 80% of builders surveyed say that the scarcity of labor leads the list of challenges for 2017. While employment is growing within the housing industry—adding 128,000 jobs over the last year, and 20,030 in January alone—unfilled construction jobs remain a key supply-side headwind. Housing markets also continue to be held back by a lack of inventory, which has kept pending existing home sales flat for most of the last two years.
The rising cost of credit is another point of concern as the new year begins. Federal Reserve data indicate that demand for multifamily debt and commercial real estate construction and development loans slowed or declined at the end of 2016, perhaps due to rising interest rates. New home sales were also down in December, which some analysts attribute to higher mortgage rates. However, regional data do not fully support that claim.
While rising rates will act as a drag on housing demand going forward, sales were up 12% over the course of 2016 and favorable demographics will cause sales to rise more in 2017, supported by rising wages and job growth.
–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz
Conventionally Financed New Home Sales Reach 9-Year High
Improved economic conditions help ease lending conditions for conventional loans.
Standards on CRE Loans Tighten as Demand Weakens
However, the pace of tightening has eased slightly after it peaked in mid-2016.
Federal Open Market Committee Meeting – No News is Good News
Economic conditions are right for a faster pace of monetary policy normalization.
Mortgage Rates Rising
Increasing rates too rapidly will likely impact sales.
Nation Moves Closer to Recovery
House prices are the lone bright spot amid lagging single-family permits and employment numbers.
Home Prices Continued to Rise in November
Tight inventory and high demand pushed prices up at a rapid pace.
Homeownership Rate Bottoming Out?
A 50-year low has been followed by two consecutive quarters of increases.
New Home Sales Grew 12% in 2016
A strong year overall, despite a weak December estimate.
Residential Construction Employment Growing
January's fast pace is an encouraging sign for 2017.
Record-High 4th Quarter for 55+ Housing Market
Builders report increases in current sales, expected sales and prospective buyers.
Residential Construction Ends 2016 on High Note
Three consecutive monthly increases in spending add momentum at the start of a new year.
Housing Share of GDP Essentially Unchanged
A slight drop brings total contributions to 15.6%.
Employment Situation Looks Promising
Solid report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics starts off the year.
Consumer Confidence Decreased in January
Optimism about current conditions is overshadowed by low expectations for the future.
First Look at 4th Quarter GDP Growth
Real GDP grew at a 1.9% annual rate, slowing from 3.5% in the previous quarter.