COVID Industry News

Industry news has been encouraging, The Washington Post recently wrote: In April, housing starts in the United States on a year-over-year basis declined 29.7 percent to 891,000, according to the Census Bureau. During that same period, housing completions fell 29.7 percent to 891,000. And in April, 1.1 million building permits were filed, down 19.2 percent from the previous April.

Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, anticipates about a 20 percent decline nationally in single-family construction this year “with a rebound taking hold at the end of the year and gains in 2021.”

Specifically, the housing market is beginning to show signs of stabilizing and is moving forward from the pandemic. By mid-May, the latest NAHB-Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which depicts builder confidence in the construction of single-family houses, increased seven points to 37.

“But being below 50, it is still in negative territory,” Dietz said.

In a research note, Thomas Simons, a money market economist with Bloomfield, N.J.-based investment bank Jefferies & Co., wrote that he’s “optimistic” about the home building sector and that he expects a “sharp rebound” in sentiment in the June data.

“Coming into the COVID-19-induced shutdown of economic activity, there was a housing shortage in the U.S. that was driving prices steadily higher and led this index to reach its highest level since 1999,” Simons wrote. “Despite the massive surge in unemployment caused by the policy response to the virus, we don’t think the fundamentals in the housing market have changed all that much. With most of the job losses either temporary or at the lower end of the income spectrum, they are unlikely to affect the demand for single-family housing.”

But Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at the Mortgage Bankers Association, was less rosy. In a recent statement, he said the loss of 1 million construction jobs “may potentially slow the rebound in new construction that will be needed to completely revive the housing market.”

For more go to https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/11/business-our-new-normal-pandemics-effect-home-construction-market/?arc404=true

Over at Marketwatch.com, the situation is improving: “The numbers: Home-building activity has staged a significant turnaround from the coronavirus-related slowdown.

U.S. homebuilders began construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million in July, up 22.6% from the previous month and 23.4% from a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The pace of home building is now 7% down from the pre-coronavirus high.

Permitting activity occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.495 million, up 18.8% from June and 9.4% from July 2019.

The numbers: Home-building activity has staged a significant turnaround from the coronavirus-related slowdown.

U.S. homebuilders began construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million in July, up 22.6% from the previous month and 23.4% from a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The pace of home building is now 7% down from the pre-coronavirus high.

Permitting activity occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.495 million, up 18.8% from June and 9.4% from July 2019.

All regions experienced an overall uptick in housing starts despite rising coronavirus cases across many parts of the country, led by the 35.3% increase in the Northeast. However, single-family starts actually fell slightly between June and July in both the Northeast and the Midwest. Permitting rose relatively uniformly across the country, with all four major regions seeing upticks.

Big picture: Americans’ demand for homes was at a fever pitch before the pandemic, and it’s now returned in earnest. Low mortgage rates have made buying a home a more affordable proposition for millions of Americans, while the reality of living, working, and attending school at home has prompted many households to search for bigger properties, particularly in the suburbs.”

For more, go to https://www.marketwatch.com/story/housing-starts-soar-226-in-july-as-americans-head-for-the-suburbs-in-search-of-larger-abodes-2020-08-18

Make no mistake, the pandemic has changed the way we live and work. Galphin offers this: “I hope we as a company will continue to grow in our understanding of our impact on each other from a corporate and individual perspective.  For example, we’ve seen mental health effects and the impact of charity.  We had several employees who suffered serious mental health effects and/or have been impacted by the mental health of loved ones as a result of COVID.  I want to facilitate an environment that fosters mental, spiritual, and physical health.  We did some outreach efforts like making sandwiches for a homeless shelter and I’d like to see those activities continue as partnerships more than just one-time events.  I personally lean pretty far toward the introverted end of the spectrum so I have appreciated the isolation, but I have come to appreciate my face-to-face interactions with customers and co-workers more than I ever thought I would.”

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