This Week in Real Estate

April 19, 2021

The time isn’t the only thing springing forward this spring! Housing production jumped over 19% in March despite rising lumber and material prices. Homebuilder confidence is also on the rise as builders face strong demand from potential buyers. Meanwhile, 5 U.S. housing records were shattered in March. I take a closer look at your top real estate news This Week in Real Estate

* Housing Starts Spring Forward in March. Housing production jumped in March despite rising lumber and other material prices affecting the housing industry. Overall housing starts increased 19.4% percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.74 million units, according to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This was the fastest pace for combined single-family and multifamily construction since June 2006. The March reading of 1.74 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if development kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 15.3% percent to a 1.24 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. Overall housing permits increased 2.7% to a 1.77 million unit annualized rate in March. Single-family permits increased 4.6% to a 1.20 million unit rate. Multifamily permits decreased 1.2% to a 567,000 pace.

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Homebuilder Confidence Rises in April Despite Record High Lumber Prices. Builder sentiment increased 1 point in April to 83, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Anything above 50 is considered positive. Last April the index plummeted to 30 and then shot back up over the summer. Regionally, looking at the three-month moving average, builder sentiment in the Northeast rose 6 points to 86 and in the South rose 1 point to 83. The West was unchanged at 90 and the Midwest fell 2 points to 78. Builders are facing strong demand from potential buyers because the existing home market continues to suffer from a record low number of listings. They are, however, having trouble meeting that demand, as supply delivery challenges and higher costs for materials are not improving. “NAHB’s forecast is for ongoing growth in single-family construction in 2021, albeit at a lower growth rate than realized in 2020,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. 

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* Five U.S. Housing Records Were Shattered in March. To say the U.S. housing market is on fire is an understatement these days. the national median home-sale price in the U.S. hit a record high of $353,000 in March 2021, up 17% from 2020 and a record high rate of growth. The U.S. housing market set several other records in March 2021, even considering the fact that year-over-year comparisons are now looking at the start of the pandemic: (1) the number of homes for sale fell to a record low, with a record year-over-year drop of 29%; (2) the typical home sold in just 25 days, a record low; (3) 42% of homes sold above their list price, a record high; (4) the average sale-to-list ratio, measure of how close homes are selling to their asking prices, hit a record high, passing 100% for the first time. 

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