New housing growth lukewarm in Q4

by Anna Sobrevinas08 Feb 2017
Despite high employment and home-price levels, new-home growth was lukewarm in the fourth quarter, according to new data from the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index.

Nationwide, the index score was .99, meaning that current permit, price and employment data indicate that the nationwide average is running at 99% of normal economic and housing activity, according to the NAHB. However, the three major components of the index, taken individually, tell a different story. Single-family permits were only at 52% of normal activity.  Employment was at 98% and home prices were far above normal at 147%.

“Though rising, single-family permits continue to lag behind the other components of the LMI,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “This is due to a number of factors, including regulatory hurdles and supply-side headwinds such as persistent shortages of lots and labor in many markets. As we address these challenges, we should see an additional increase in housing production.”

NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, who recently announced that the association supports President Donald Trump’s plan to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act, said that they are expecting the administration and Congress to “implement regulatory relief that help small businesses and the housing sector.”

Recently surveyed NAHB members listed cost and availability of labor and developed lots as their two main concerns, but the housing market is making gradual gains, nonetheless.

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