Author Archives

  • Remodeling Slows in the Second Quarter

    The National Association of Home Builders Remodeling Market Index (RMI) dipped to 43.9 in the second quarter of 2011 from the 46.5 posted in the first quarter of the year.  Remodeling activity slowed for the same reasons new construction stagnated in recent months; namely a sluggish economy, lack of consumer confidence, and a strict lending environment. And as we noted last quarter, the… Read More ›


  • The Housing Market and the Debt Ceiling Debate

    As negotiations continue on whether and how to raise the debt ceiling, it is important to keep in mind housing market impacts that could occur due to the some of the possible outcomes being discussed in Washington. Under the present law debt ceiling, the federal government may not borrow more than $14.3 trillion. The effect of this limit is that on August 2nd the federal government will… Read More ›


  • The Rental Housing Stock

    Given the increasing focus with respect to growing demand for rental properties, we thought we would present the breakdown of the rental housing stock by structure type. Using the 2009 American Housing Survey, the data show that 30% of all housing units in the United States are renter-occupied or vacant for-rent.   A surprisingly large share of this rental housing stock consists of single-family detached homes: 27%. When adding townhouses… Read More ›

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  • Construction Sector Job Openings Steady During Economy’s Soft Patch

    Job data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (JOLTS data) confirm that the U.S economy hit a soft patch during the summer of 2011, particularly with respect to the labor market. Nonetheless, the battered but recovering construction sector job market seems unaffected thus far. For the economy as a whole, layoffs increased by more than 10% from May to June. In fact, on… Read More ›

  • Government Regulations: 25% Cost of a New Home

    A new paper by economist Paul Emrath of NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy Group estimates the share of an average, single-family home’s price that is due to costs associated with government regulations. Using responses from the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index survey and average long-run assumptions about terms on construction loans, profit margins, and time lags between different phases of the home building… Read More ›

  • Carried Interest Is a Multifamily Tax Issue

    One of the tax issues in play in the current round of deficit talks is the taxation of carried interest. A carried (or promoted) interest is a profits interest in a business deal that is larger as a share of the total return than the share of the initial equity investment. Under present law, if the income paid out as the carry is a… Read More ›

  • Townhouse Construction and the Great Recession

    One of the impacts of the Great Recession was an interruption of the long-term growth trend in the construction of townhouses (attached single-family units) as a share of all single-family homes built. From 1990 to 2007, the share of townhouses constructed grew from 6% to 16% of single-family housing starts, as reported by the Census Bureau. As of the first quarter of… Read More ›

  • NAHB Architects Split on Whether Market Is Improving

    For some time, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) has been signaling a fairly weak market for new single-family homes, with relatively few of the builders responding to the HMI survey expressing optimism that markets will improve over the next six months. On the theory that architects may be able to provide a useful alternative window into the future… Read More ›

  • A Tax Deduction is Not Government Spending

    One of the tactics of opponents of the mortgage interest deduction (MID), the charitable expense deduction, and other itemized deductions is to brand these long-standing rules as tax earmarks/loopholes or government-spending-in-disguise. The argument goes as follows. Suppose a homeowning taxpayer saves $2,000 on their taxes by claiming a deduction for mortgage interest payments. This line of thinking then claims that this… Read More ›

  • NY Times Poll Finds Strong Support for Homeownership

    Confirming the findings of an earlier NAHB-commissioned poll, which showed that housing and homeownership remain national priorities, the New York Times published the results of its own poll on housing issues. The survey found that 89% of respondents said that homeownership is an important part of the American dream. With respect to the mortgage interest deduction (MID), the Times reported: And almost no… Read More ›