One factor holding back a stronger rebound in home construction has been the tight availability of acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) loans. However, recent data confirm that net lending is on the rise.
According to data from the FDIC and NAHB analysis, the outstanding stock of 1-4 unit residential AD&C loans made by FDIC-insured institutions rose by $1.952 billion during the first quarter of 2014, a quarterly increase of 4.46%.
The first quarter expansion of the stock of AD&C loans marked the fourth consecutive quarter of increase. Since the end of the first quarter 2013, the stock of outstanding home building AD&C loans is up 12.2%, an increase of just under $5 billion.
It is worth noting the FDIC data report only the stock of loans, not changes in the underlying flows, so it is an imperfect data source. Nonetheless, the consistent growth in the outstanding stock of AD&C loans is a positive development. NAHB surveys of builders also suggest improving lending conditions.
However, lending remains much reduced from years past. The current stock of existing residential AD&C loans (the blue area on the graph below) of $45.7 billion now stands 77.6% lower (denoted by the red line) than the peak level of AD&C lending of $203.8 billion reached during the first quarter of 2008.
The FDIC data reveal that the total decline from peak lending for home building AD&C loans continues to exceed that of other AD&C loans (nonresidential, land development, and multifamily). Such forms of AD&C lending are off a smaller 61.6% from peak lending. This class of AD&C loans has now registered three quarters of significant increases (1.5% for the first quarter of 2014).
Some land development loans connected to home building are grouped in this other class. NAHB survey data indicate land development loans face tighter lending conditions than loans for residential construction purposes.
Despite the recent uptick in residential AD&C lending, there exists a lending gap between home building demand and available credit. This lending gap is being made up with other sources of capital, including equity, investments from non-FDIC insured institutions and lending from other private sources, which may in some cases offer less favorable terms for home builders than traditional AD&C loans.