Lennar Targets 2 Billion for Major Single-Family Rental Push

January 18, 2021
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

The U.S. homebuilder Lennar Corp. is making a big push into single-family rentals, targeting a new set of customers at a time when surging prices threaten to push homeownership out of reach for many.

The Miami-based company is laying the groundwork to develop thousands of rental houses, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The firm is seeking to raise $2 billion for the initiative, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Eases From Record, Remains Robust

January 11, 2021
Henry Ren - Bloomberg

U.S. homebuilder confidence eased slightly in December to the second-best level on record following the prior month’s peak, signaling that low mortgage rates are still giving the industry a major boost.

A gauge of builder sentiment slipped to 86 from November’s reading of 90 that was the highest in records back to 1985, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Wednesday. The figure was below the median forecast of 88 in Bloomberg’s survey of economists.

U.S. Housing Starts Rose For a Third-Straight Month in November

January 4, 2021
Olivia Rockeman - Bloomberg

U.S. new home construction rose more than forecast to a nine-month high in November, highlighting the strength of a residential housing market that’s been supported by strong demand amid low interest rates.

Residential starts rose 1.2% to a 1.547 million annualized rate from an downwardly revised 1.528 million a month earlier, according to government report released Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1.535 million pace.

Million-Dollar Homebuying Soars With U.S. Rich on Shopping Binge

December 29, 2020
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Wealthy Americans, largely untouched by the recession and eager for more living space, have been on a homebuying binge.

Demand for million-dollar homes is growing faster than any other price tier in the pandemic-driven U.S. housing boom. In October, applications for mortgages larger than $766,000 jumped 59%, the biggest gain for all segments measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association. By comparison, the increase for mortgages from $150,000 to $300,000 was 13%.

Toll Brothers’ Home Orders Soar in Rally for Luxury Sales

December 21, 2020
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Toll Brothers Inc. reported better-than-expected order growth, a sign that homebuyers rushing to the suburbs during the pandemic are fueling a boom in luxury sales.

  • Purchase contracts for the three months through October, jumped 68% from a year earlier to 3,407, the builder said in a statement Monday. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 3,237. It wasn’t enough for investors, however -- the shares fell in late trading.

World’s Top Lumber Firm Sees Homebuilding Surge Going Strong

December 14, 2020
Marcy Nicholson - Bloomberg

Strong homebuilding activity in North America will mean tight wood supply and demand for several more years, according to the top executive of the world’s largest lumber producer.

“In the next five years, we see housing starts continuing to be strong and an industry that will be working hard to keep up with demand,” West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Ray Ferris said Wednesday in a phone interview.

Homebuilder Confidence Hits Another Record on U.S. Buying Boom

December 7, 2020
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. jumped in November, hitting another record high as buyers swarmed sales offices to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history.

The gauge of builder sentiment rose to 90, the highest in data going back to 1985 and up from 85 in October, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Market index released Tuesday. It was third straight month of record-high readings and beat the median forecast of 85 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Unexpectedly Rise to Highest Since 2005

November 30, 2020
Henry Ren - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly rose in October to the highest level in almost 15 years, extending a housing market boom fueled by record-low mortgage rates and buyers’ desire for properties in the suburbs.

Contract closings increased 4.3% from the prior month to an annualized 6.85 million, the strongest pace since November 2005, according to National Association of Realtors data released Thursday. The October rate exceeded all economists’ forecasts in a Bloomberg survey, which had a median estimate of 6.47 million.

U.S. Housing Starts Increased More Than Forecast in October

November 23, 2020
Henry Ren - Bloomberg

U.S. new home construction rose in October by more than forecast to the fastest pace since February, highlighting a robust residential real estate market that’s helping spur the economy.

Residential starts increased 4.9% to a 1.53 million annualized rate from an upwardly revised 1.46 million a month earlier, according to a government report released Wednesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1.46 million pace.

U.S. Existing Home Sales Rise to 14-Year High, Exceed Forecast

November 16, 2020
Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose more than expected in September to the highest level in 14 years as a desire for more space and record-low mortgage rates continue to support demand.

Contract closings increased 9.4% from the prior month to an annualized 6.54 million, the fastest pace since May 2006, after a downwardly revised 5.98 million in August, according to National Association of Realtors data released Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 6.3 million rate in September. Single-family home sales outpaced purchases of condominiums.

Homebuyers’ Wallets Hammered as Prices for Plywood Substitute Spike

November 9, 2020
Marcy Nicholson - Bloomberg

Americans are coughing up $4,600 more on average to buy their dream home than six months ago -- thanks to a record run-up in prices for a once-cheap plywood substitute.

Prices are on a tear for those bonded wood-chip sheets commonly used as sheathing for walls, floors and roofs in new home construction. Oriented Strand Board, or OSB, has long been used as a low-cost alternative to plywood, but the product now fetches a higher price as increased demand and tight supplies lead to delivery delays and elevated construction costs in the U.S. and Canada.

U.S. Housing Starts Increase Amid Shift to Single-Family Homes

November 2, 2020
Jarrell Dillard - Bloomberg

U.S. new home starts increased in September on a sharp gain in single-family house construction while building permits climbed, indicating residential building had plenty of momentum at the end of the third quarter.

Residential starts increased 1.9% to a 1.42 million annualized rate from a month earlier, according to a government report released Tuesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1.47 million pace. Applications to build, a proxy for future construction, rose 5.2% to a 1.55 million rate, the fastest since 2007 and topping forecasts.

Portland, Ore., Forges Ahead With Ambitious Affordable Housing Construction Goals

October 26, 2020
Oregonian - Engineering News-Record

Portland has committed to building 720 new affordable housing units downtown as part of its ambitious Broadway Corridor redevelopment, but to meet that goal it may have to shift some of that housing to an auxiliary site across the railroad tracks from the main project.
And the city will have to overcome a legacy of failed housing goals at other major redevelopments. Backers say they are cognizant of those setbacks, and are structuring this project differently in hopes of avoiding past missteps.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com

New Home Construction in Canada Hits Its Highest Since 2007

October 19, 2020
Theophilos Argitis - Bloomberg

Construction on new homes surged to the highest level in more than a decade as Canada’s housing market continues to defy expectations of a slowdown.

Housing starts surged to 262,396 units in August on an annualized basis, up 6.9% from an already elevated 245,425 units a month earlier, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Wednesday in Ottawa. The highest monthly total since September 2007 was powered by new construction in Toronto and Vancouver, particularly multiple units like condos.

Cities Don’t Need High-Rises to Become Affordable

October 12, 2020
Virginia Postrel - Bloomberg

“Density” is a word only an urban planner could love. To normal people it’s a synonym for “crowded.” It calls to mind canyons of high-rise apartment buildings that block the light and traffic jams that block the roads. It’s the furthest thing from the California dream of a place in the sunshine with a little outdoor space to call your own.

That’s why 75% of the residential lots in Los Angeles are zoned for single-family, detached homes, with an even higher percentage in the San Fernando Valley and on the jobs-rich Westside. For L.A. to become affordable to people who don’t already own homes or make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, the city needs to put more places to live on that land. It needs to increase the density of its housing. Fortunately, it can do that without giving up sunshine and elbow room.

Builders and Manufacturers Could Lead This Recovery

October 5, 2020
Justin Fox - Bloomberg

Time to Make Some Stuff

The bounce-back from the pandemicession is still pretty tentative, and Friday morning’s jobs report may give us a better sense of just how tentative. But construction and manufacturing are already looking strong, writes Conor Sen, raising the possibility that this will be the first recovery in a long, long time to be led by the goods-producing sectors. That’s welcome news because it could mean big job gains even as other parts of the economy continue to be held back by Covid-19.

The housing market is booming because people who figure they’ll be working from home a lot need more space. With the supply of available houses on the low side even before the pandemic, that’s good news for those who know how to build them. Meanwhile, things are looking up for U.S. manufacturers due to a combination of pent-up consumer demand and a weak dollar. And though that weak dollar is frustrating for policy makers in the euro zone, argue Mark Gilbert and Marcus Ashworth, they need to resist the urge to start a currency war that could derail the global recovery.

Homes Designed to Keep Heat In Are Now Struggling to Cool Down

September 28, 2020
Jess Shankleman - Bloomberg

When it was completed in 2012 for the Summer Olympics, Lydia Yuzva’s housing complex in East London was hailed as a beacon of green design and energy efficiency. The 2,800 units, a mix of apartments and town houses, have floor-to-ceiling windows, lots of insulation, and environmentally friendly heating systems that use waste heat from a nearby power plant fueled with biomass and gas. They were designed for the U.K.’s cold winters, trapping heat to reduce energy bills.

Ex-Colony Executive Seeks $1.2 Billion for Single-Family Rentals

September 21, 2020
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

ResiBuilt Homes was supposed to raise $250 million to develop single-family rental communities, but the deal was scuttled in March after the Covid-19 pandemic brought the U.S. economy to a halt.

Now, the Atlanta-based builder is out raising money again, and it’s seeking nearly five times the original amount. ResiBuilt is working with New York investment bank Whelan Advisory to raise $400 million in equity and $800 million in debt to build and manage rental houses as it looks to capitalize on demand for larger living spaces and investor appetite for ways to bet on the suburbs.

Homebuilders' Group Wants Trump to Act to Halt Lumber Price Surge

September 14, 2020
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

With lumber prices rising sharply, the National Association of Home Builders wants the Trump administration to take steps to halt or reverse the costly trend.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at ichniowskit@enr.com

Mortgage Rates in U.S. Slide Back Below 3% for 30-Year Loans

September 7, 2020
Craig Giammona - Bloomberg

Mortgage rates have once again dipped below 3%.

The average for a 30-year fixed loan was 2.99%, just off the record low set two weeks ago, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday. Rates had ticked up to 3.01% last week.

Want More Housing? Ending Single-Family Zoning Won’t Do It.

August 31, 2020
Emily Hamilton - Bloomberg

Before Covid-19 took hold of the national consciousness, the YIMBY movement — of those saying “Yes In My Backyard” to housing development — appeared ready to go mainstream. More and more people recognized that NIMBYism run amok and codified into local laws leads to fewer housing options, drastically raising prices in cities and towns alike, and contributing to inequality. Now, in a time of pandemic-driven budget cuts and unemployment, the importance of housing affordability is growing.

U.S. June New-Home Sales Surge to Highest in Almost 13 Years

August 24, 2020
Vince Golle & Maeve Sheehey - Bloomberg

New-home sales in the U.S. increased to an almost 13-year high in June, fueled by record-low borrowing costs and adding to evidence that residential real estate is a bright spot for the economy.

Purchases of new single-family houses climbed 13.8% to a 776,000 annualized pace after an upwardly revised May increase of 19.4%, government data showed Friday. The June pace exceeded all economists’ forecasts in a Bloomberg survey that had a median estimate of 700,000. The median selling price rose 5.6% from a year earlier to $329,200 as inventory shrank.

U.S. Homebuilder Optimism Continues Recovery as Buyers Return

August 17, 2020
Olivia Rockeman - Bloomberg

U.S. homebuilders’ outlook improved in July and is back at pre-pandemic levels as the housing market continued to lure buyers looking for more space and attracted by record-low interest rates.

A gauge of builder sentiment jumped to a preliminary 72, a 14-point gain from June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected a reading of 61. A rating above 50 is considered positive. July’s increase followed a 21-point uptick in June.

Home Construction Starts Jumped in June, Buoying Builders

August 10, 2020
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

U.S. home construction starts rose 17% in June, with builders ramping up production as lockdowns eased.

Residential starts jumped to an annualized rate of 1.19 million, according to a government report released Friday. That matched the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The month-over-month increase was the biggest since October 2016, while the rate remains 4% below the level in June 2019.


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