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Housing Provides Boost to GDP

Final estimates of fourth quarter 2016 GDP growth (revised up two-tenths of a percentage point to 2.1%), show that housing’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) was unchanged at 15.6%. The home building and remodeling component—residential fixed investment (RFI)—also held steady at 3.5% as a share of GDP. The fourth-quarter expansion of RFI added 0.35 percentage points to the headline… Read More ›

A Primer on Border-Adjusted Taxes

In June 2016, House Republicans introduced the outline of a tax reform proposal (a.k.a. the blueprint).  The blueprint includes significant changes to how business income would be taxed. In particular, corporate taxation would move toward a cash-flow tax (CFT). In their most basic form, CFTs tax income based on where the income ultimately flows.  In contrast, income tax liability currently… Read More ›

Homeownership: A County-Level Analysis

Homeownership is a key housing and economic measure of social conditions. Due to the housing downturn, the national homeownership rate declined precipitously, and has failed to recover to its historical norm. In fact, the homeownership rate reached a 50 year low in the second quarter of 2016 and has only edged up slightly since then, rising to 63.5% at the… Read More ›

Rental Apartment Absorption Flat While Condominium Absorption Jumps

The US Census Bureau, in collaboration with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, releases data on completions and absorption rates for multifamily buildings with at least 5 apartments. The most recent release shows that completions of nonsubsidized, unfurnished, rental apartments amounted to 73,800 in the third quarter of 2016. This is 11,700 more than the second quarter of 2016, but… Read More ›

Softwood Lumber, Gypsum Products Lead Price Increases Among Building Materials

The prices of softwood lumber, gypsum, ready-mix concrete, and OSB all increased in February, according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The increases were led by gypsum products, with softwood lumber a close second. After decreasing in four of five months, the price of softwood lumber rose in February. The 4.8% increase was the… Read More ›

Lumber Prices Rise to Start 2017

The price of lumber, from framing to structural panels, has increased in recent weeks with some prices rising more than 30%. Softwood lumber prices have been relatively steady since 2014.  During this period, the largest one-week price increase of framing lumber (+6.8%), as measured by the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Index, occurred in the middle of the recent price… Read More ›

Pace of Residential Construction Spending Continues Positive Trend

Private residential construction got off to an auspicious start in 2017, continuing the growth trend that began in October of last year.  NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending grew 0.5% in January 2017 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of $476.4 billion. Multifamily construction spending in January grew by 2.2% to a seasonally-adjusted… Read More ›

Mortgage Rates in January

Results from a survey administered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicate that mortgage rates rose in January 2017*. Over the month, contract rates on mortgages used to purchase single-family newly constructed homes increased by 24 basis points to 4.02 percent. Although the monthly change reported by FHFA contrasted with a report by Freddie Mac, the results of the… Read More ›

Apartment and Condominium Market Momentum Continues

The National Association of Home Builders’ Multifamily Production Index (MPI) increased two points to 55 in the fourth quarter of 2016. For five straight years, the MPI has been at or above 50, which indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse (Figure 1). Figure 1: NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) and Multifamily Starts… Read More ›

NAHB Survey: AD&C Financing Standards Continue to Ease

Builders and developers continue to report easing credit conditions for acquisition, development, and construction (AD&C) loans according to NAHB’s survey on AD&C Financing. However, the pace of easing slowed somewhat from the second quarter. In the 4th quarter of 2016, the overall net tightening index based on the AD&C survey was -7.3. The 4th quarter reading indicates slightly less easing… Read More ›