Recent reports on sales of existing homes and new construction show that buyers are motivated by the lower long term interest rates that inspired the two Fed Funds cuts this summer. August’s construction numbers were strong for multi-family and single-family construction. The rate environment seems unlikely to have made such a difference. Rates were already historically low. However, one of the major home buying demographic groups – Millennials – has proven to be very skeptical about home ownership; therefore, even small drops in the 30-year mortgage rate seem to be having the emotional impact that pushes shoppers to become buyers.
Wells Fargo Economics has a great short commentary on residential construction. An excerpt is below:
Higher builder confidence and an improving trend in single-family permits
indicate that new home construction is finally beginning to catch up to the higher pace seen in new home sales. Total housing starts jumped 12.3% to a 1.36 million-unit pace, the highest since June 2007. The headline number surpassed all expectations, but was driven to a large extent by a 32.8% surge in multifamily starts. New apartment construction, which is notoriously volatile on a month-to-monthbasis, had briefly dipped below trend the past two months, so a catchup in August is not surprising.
Still, single-family starts were quite solid, rising 4.4% to a 919,000-unit pace,
the highest since January 2019. Only three times in this long and gradual
housing recovery have we seen single-family construction at a higher pace
than in August. Single-family starts rose 3.6% and 5.3%, respectively, in the
South and West, the two largest regions for residential construction. They
were up 8.7% in the Midwest and down 1.7% in the Northeast. Nationwide,
year-to-date single-family starts are down 2.7% over the same period last