Homebuilders Say Major Uptick Coming

Homebuilders Say Major Uptick Coming

Steady job growth, low mortgage rates, and pent-up demand is prompting an increase in the demand for new single-family homes, and homebuilders say they're ready to build them.

That said, builders say they’re being met with plenty of headwinds that could subdue some construction, such as a shortage of lots and labor and tight access to construction and development loans.

"Builders remain cautiously optimistic about market conditions," says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, in a Spring Construction Forecast Webinar on Thursday. "2016 should be the first year since the Great Recession in which the growth rate for single-family production exceeds that of multifamily. And we see single-family growth accelerating in 2017 as the supply side chain mends and we can expand production."

NAHB forecasters predict that single-family production will see a 14 percent uptick this year to 812,000 units, and then rise another 19 percent to 964,000 units in 2017.

Single-family starts will reach 64 percent of historically normal levels by the fourth quarter of this year and rise to 77 percent of normal by the end of 2017, NAHB reports. By the end of 2017, the top 20 percent of the largest states will reach at least 102 percent of normal single-family production levels, compared to the bottom 20 percent, which likely will still remain below 65 percent, NAHB reports.

"Consumer surveys suggest the ultimate goal of millennials is to purchase a single-family home in the suburbs," says Dietz. "We see growth for single-family looking ahead. The recovery continues and is dictated by demand side conditions and supply side headwinds." 

Jennifer Katzfey

Jennifer Katzfey

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