White House Meets Builders, Unions on Home Shortage

July 19, 2021
Eric Martin - Bloomberg

The White House held a meeting with representatives from across the homebuilding industry on Friday as President Joe Biden seeks to address a housing supply shortage that’s spurring a record increase in home prices.

Top Biden administration officials sat down with representatives from across the supply chain, including builders, housing advocates, lumber companies, real estate firms, loggers and labor unions, the White House said in a statement. Builders cite high materials prices, scarce supplies and a dearth of skilled workers as ongoing challenges in the race to complete new homes.

Hits Keep Coming to Boston's Fenway Neighborhood

July 11, 2021
Scott Van Voorhis - Engineering News-Record

Just a decade or two ago, Boston's Fenway Park stadium was surrounded by a smattering of surface parking lots, fast-food joints, gas stations and sports bars, an odd slice of Route 1-style suburban sprawl in the heart of the city.

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

Top U.S. Lumber Maker Sees Decade of Strong Building Demand

July 5, 2021
Marcy Nicholson - Bloomberg

The home-building and renovation boom could keep wood demand strong for the next decade, the biggest U.S. lumber producer said Tuesday.

In anticipation, Weyerhaeuser Co. is eyeing forests and sawmills so it can expand output of boards and planks, Chief Executive Officer Devin Stockfish told the Nareit REITweek 2021 Investor Conference on Tuesday. The Seattle-based company already owns 11 million acres of American timberland.

Housing Boom Helps Prop Up 5.6% Annualized Growth in Canada

June 28, 2021
Shelly Hagan - Bloomberg

Canada’s economy continued its recovery from pandemic damage in the first quarter, driven by a surge in home construction.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 5.6% annualized rate in the three-month period, after a revised 9.3% pace at the end of last year, according to a report Tuesday from Statistics Canada. That’s slightly below the 6.8% median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Housing investment grew at an annualized 43% pace, easily the biggest driver of growth.

RBA Sees Residential Construction Rising Further, Boosting Costs

June 21, 2021
Michael Heath - Bloomberg

New-home building is set to rise further in coming months and remain elevated for the remainder of the year, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in documents dated from April released under Freedom of Information.

“This has led to construction delays and higher input costs, which are beginning to flow through to prices for detached housing,” the RBA said in a section titled ‘liaison on current conditions.’” “Housing starts are expected to peak around May in most states. However, the peak is expected to be closer to September in New South Wales, reflecting longer time to commencement.”

New York City Pensions to Fund $250 Million Apartment Venture

June 14, 2021
Oshrat Carmiel - Bloomberg

For New York City’s pension funds, there’s no time like now to invest in new apartments.

The two largest retirement systems -- covering public school teachers and municipal employees -- are teaming up with developer Hudson Cos., to allocate $250 million for construction of middle-income housing in the city and surrounding suburbs, the developer said.

Housing Is So Hot That U.S. Builders Have to Stop Taking Orders

June 7, 2021
Prashant Gopal & Jordan Yadoo - Bloomberg

Across the U.S., house prices are skyrocketing, bidding wars are the norm and supply is scarcer than ever. Now the market is too hot even for homebuilders.

Demand is so fevered -- and construction costs are climbing so quickly -- that overwhelmed builders are suppressing orders and shifting away from fixed prices. Companies including D.R. Horton Inc. and Lennar Corp. are experimenting with blind auctions in areas such as Texas, Florida and southern California. Some smaller firms have stopped signing contracts altogether.

Reprinted courtesy of Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg and Jordan Yadoo, Bloomberg

U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Steady as Low Rates Buck High Costs

May 31, 2021
Payne Lubbers - Bloomberg

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders stabilized in May despite rising costs and shrinking availability of most construction materials.

A gauge of builder sentiment held at 83, National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo data showed Monday. The reading matched the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Since the start of the year, the measure has held within a two-point range.

Builders Scour for Cheaper Lumber as Futures Prices Tumble

May 24, 2021
Marcy Nicholson - Bloomberg

U.S. lumber futures tumbled from a record high for the sixth straight session, pushing some builders to the sidelines while they wait for even lower prices during North America’s boom in home construction.

The price of lumber for July delivery has dropped 23% from its May 10 peak of $1,733.50 per 1,000 board feet -- a level then that was more than four times higher than a year ago. Prices have fallen for six straight days, marking the longest streak for declines since September.

Canadian Lumber Producers to Expand U.S. Mills Amid Home Boom

May 17, 2021
Marcy Nicholson & Daniela Sirtori-Cortina - Bloomberg

North American lumber companies plan to ramp up production by expanding existing mills as strong home construction fuels the need for more wood.

West Fraser Timber Co., the world’s biggest lumber producer, plans to expand capacity at five of its lumber mills in the U.S. South. Interfor Corp. is rebuilding a sawmill in Georgia that is on track for completion by the end of 2021. Both companies expect home-building and renovation demand to continue supporting strong prices for wood products in the near future.

Beverly Hills Homeowner Scores $83 Million Loan to Expand Mansion

May 10, 2021
Suzanne Woolley, Tom Maloney & Benjamin Stupples - Bloomberg

It’s very L.A.: Dream big and borrow big.

Byron Allen, a former comedian and television host who’s now an entertainment mogul, is borrowing as much as $82.8 million tied to his Beverly Hills mansion, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

Canary Wharf May Scrap Planned Office Skyscraper for Apartments

May 3, 2021
Olivia Konotey-Ahulu - Bloomberg

The main landlord in London’s Canary Wharf financial district is considering scrapping plans for a new office skyscraper and building a 60-story apartment tower instead.

Canary Wharf Group is consulting with local authorities about the potential for building around 700 homes at its 1 Park Place site that would be purpose-built for tenants, according to an application on the Tower Hamlets council website. The firm had won initial permission in 2015 for a one million square foot office building, the equivalent of two Gherkin skyscrapers.

Housing Starts in U.S. Soar After Winter-Related Setback

April 26, 2021
Olivia Rockeman - Bloomberg

U.S. housing starts rebounded sharply in March to the highest since 2006, exceeding forecasts and indicating residential construction is getting back on track after a winter storm-related setback.

Residential starts jumped 19.4% last month to a 1.74 million annualized rate, according to government data released Friday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 1.61 million pace. Applications to build also climbed.

U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Increased Slightly in April

April 19, 2021
Payne Lubbers - Bloomberg

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders improved in April as strong demand helped offset concerns about rising material costs and supply chain issues.

A gauge of builder sentiment rose to 83 from a March reading of 82, the highest in two months, National Association of Home Builders data showed Thursday. The figure was in line with the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Palm Beach County Mansions Scooped Up in Hot Pandemic Market

April 12, 2021
Alex Wittenberg - Bloomberg

Florida’s Palm Beach County hasn’t lost its luster with wealthy homebuyers.

Purchase contracts for single-family houses priced at $10 million or more surged 306% in March from a year earlier, the biggest gain since the pandemic started, appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate said in a report. For condos priced at $5 million or more, deals jumped 392%.

How Biden Can Build Back Better by Investing in Homes

April 5, 2021
Kriston Capps - Bloomberg

U.S. President Joe Biden just signed into law the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion relief package and his first major piece of legislation. The administration has signaled the next stimulus will focus on infrastructure — but it will have to tackle more than just better bridges and highways.

Infrastructure improvements need to start at home, according to climate advocates and industry executives. More specifically, they see residential investments as the key to jobs, equity and public health — fulfilling the president’s pledge to “build back better.” Grid weatherization, building efficiency upgrades, low-income energy assistance and rebates for retrofits should serve as the engine for the next infrastructure package, according to a new report from the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank, and the Evergreen Collaborative, a climate change advocacy group. They plan to offer lawmakers a suite of detailed policies and options to consider as they craft new legislation.

The Housing Boom That Never Ends Already Wiped Out All the Short-Sellers

March 29, 2021
Ari Altstedter & Kevin Orland - Bloomberg

In December, Aaron Moore bought an unremarkable three-bedroom house in the Toronto suburb of Brampton and, after throwing on a fresh coat of paint and laying down new hardwood floors, put it right back on the market.

In March, he found a buyer. The price tag: C$810,000 (about $649,000), a stunning 28% more than he had just paid.

Varde Partners Bets on Housing Market Boom in Sun Belt Suburbs

March 22, 2021
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

Varde Partners is investing more than $250 million to fund development of single-family homes in Arizona, Florida and Texas in a bet on Sun Belt suburbs.

With historically low mortgage rates driving a housing rally during the pandemic, Varde is putting money into the real estate market through a trio of transactions as Americans shift away from coastal cities in a search for larger properties.

U.S. Homebuilders Urge Biden to Help Ease Sky-High Lumber Costs

March 15, 2021
Marcy Nicholson - Bloomberg

The biggest U.S. homebuilders group urged the Biden administration to help increase lumber supply, saying record-high costs threaten to price potential home buyers out of the market and curb construction.

The administration needs to remove import tariffs on Canadian lumber and urge producers to boost output, the National Association of Home Builders said Friday on its website. In November, the U.S. Department of Commerce reduced its duties on Canadian softwood lumber by more than half to 9%.

Surprise U.S. Existing-Home Sales Gain Caps Best Year Since 2006

March 8, 2021
Olivia Rockeman - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes increased unexpectedly in December, capping the best year for the housing market since 2006 as historically low mortgage rates helped power demand.

Contract closings rose 0.7% from the prior month to an annualized 6.76 million rate, according to National Association of Realtors data released Friday. The figure topped all but one estimate from economists in Bloomberg survey that had a median of 6.56 million.

U.S. Housing Starts Rose to Fastest Pace Since 2006 in December

March 1, 2021
Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

U.S. home construction starts rose in December to the best pace since late 2006 as builders responded to the robust demand for single-family housing.

Residential starts climbed by 5.8% to a 1.67 million annualized rate, according to government data released Thursday. That topped all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists that had a median forecast of 1.56 million and compared with an upwardly revised 1.58 million rate in November.

The Housing Market Boom Gets Another Boost From Biden

February 22, 2021
Conor Sen - Bloomberg

For years following the Great Recession, households faced a number of financial hurdles hindering their ability to buy a home. The three biggest were: a weak labor market that didn't give workers enough income to purchase a house; elevated levels of student loan debt; and high apartment rents that prevented prospective buyers from saving money for a down payment.

Mr. Sen may be contacted at csen9@bloomberg.net

This Chart Should Assuage Fears of a Housing Bubble

February 15, 2021
Peter Coy - Bloomberg

American housing is often lumped in with Bitcoin and Tesla Inc. as a bubble market. True, prices have risen sharply. The median sales price of a previously owned single-family house in the U.S. reached $314,300 in December, up 93% in 11 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. But this chart shows that the force behind the price rise is a supply shortage, not a speculative frenzy.

Congress Establishes the 4% Floor to Support Affordable Housing

February 8, 2021
Kimberly C. Moore - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog

Legislation signed into law on December 27, 2020, fixed the rate for the 30% present value low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), which had dropped to a historic low of 3.07 in 2020, at 4% (the 4% Floor). Congress hopes that the 4% Floor will increase the supply of affordable rental housing in 2021 and beyond by reducing the need for other types of financing and subsidies for qualified LIHTC projects.

The LIHTC program, which was enacted as part of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, subsidizes the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income tenants. The program accounts for approximately 90% of all such housing created in the United States today. According to HUD, an average of almost 1,400 projects and 106,000 units were completed annually between 1995 and 2018. The LIHTC program is by far the largest federal program supporting the creation of affordable rental housing.

Ms. Moore may be contacted at kimberly.moore@pillsburylaw.com


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