Housing Starts (Aug.)

A boom in multifamily construction has supported housing starts in recent months, with multifamily building permits rising to a 31-year high. On the single-family side, homebuilders have reported strong demand but material and labour shortages are preventing builders from getting to work on the large backlog of homes that have been authorised. Those constraints will not be solved overnight, so we except single-family starts will see only a gradual rise to around 1.16m annualised by the end of this year.
Matthew Pointon Senior Property Economist
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US Housing Market Update

Are too many homes being built?

Increased demand for larger homes to accommodate working from home and continued migration to the sunbelt will support housing demand even as population growth slows. We therefore don’t think the recent surge in housing starts, and rise in the number of homes authorised but not started, pose a risk to the housing market.

22 October 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Existing Home Sales (Sep.)

The 7.0% m/m rise in existing home sales in September does not mark the start of an upward trend in activity. With mortgage rates rising, inventory close to record lows and home buying sentiment at 39-year lows sales are set to trend down over the next six-months. Beyond that, a gradual improvement in supply and less rampant house price growth will help sales slowly rise to around 5.75m annualised by end-2023.

21 October 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Housing Starts (Sep.)

Single-family starts and building permits have been stable over the past three months at around 1.1m annualised, as strong new home demand has run up against shortages of materials and labour. We expect new home demand will remain robust even as mortgage rates rise, but constraints on the supply side will continue. Overall, that means single-family starts will see only a small rise over the next year or so, ending 2022 at around 1.2m annualised.

19 October 2021

More from Matthew Pointon

US Housing Market Update

Stimulus cheques help explain house price rebound

After beginning to slow at the turn of the year, house price growth has since got a second wind. We suspect the key driver behind that resurgence was the arrival of the third round of stimulus cheques, which drove up the saving rate and helped boost first-time buyer down payments by 12% between February and May. But with no more cheques on the horizon and the saving rate stabilising that support for house prices will dissipate, supporting our call that annual house price growth will soon peak.

17 September 2021

US Housing Market Update

New apartments will start to get larger soon

Apartments kept getting smaller in the second quarter of this year, with the median floor space of units falling to under 1,000 sq. ft., the lowest since records began in 1999. That trend seems at odds with rising demand for larger units to accommodate increased working from home. We suspect that dichotomy in part reflects lags in the development process, not helped by COVID-19, as well as surging steel prices. But with demand for bigger units here to stay, we don’t think it will be long before units start to get larger. We expect median floor size for multifamily starts will be back above 1,000 sq. ft. by the end of the year. In view of the wider interest, we are also sending this US Housing Update to clients of our US Commercial Property service

14 September 2021

US Housing Market Chart Book

Soaring prices and lack of supply weigh on activity

Mortgage rates have been stable at close to record lows since mid-July, but that hasn’t prevented a decline in housing demand. New home sales are down 28% from their peak last year and while existing home sales surprised on the upside in July, the pending index implies they will soon drop back. Soaring house prices, tight credit conditions and lack of inventory are weighing on buyer sentiment and sales. House price growth hit another record high in June, but with demand now easing we suspect it is approaching its peak. Indeed, a recent moderation in the size of home purchase mortgages points to an upcoming cooling in prices. Rental demand has bounced-back strongly, leading to rapidly tightening markets and accelerating rental growth. With the for-sale inventory set to remain tight, the outlook for rental demand is strong and that has spurred a swift recovery in apartment capital values and a boom in apartment starts.

9 September 2021
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