U.S. Review Housing Begins to Bump Up Against Supply Constraints
Over the past year, the housing market has become white-hot. Low mortgage rates and increased household space needs have propelled home sales, builder confidence and residential construction to highs not seen since the housing boom in the early 2000s. Like many other parts of the economy, however, robust housing market activity appears to be bumping up against some supply constraints.
Housing starts fell 9.5% to a still-strong 1.57-million unit pace in April. Unusually wet weather in the South and Midwest may have contributed to the decline, but the larger-than-expected drop looks to be primarily owed to shortages of building materials and qualified labor. Shortages of lumber, copper and appliances have caused the prices of those building materials to skyrocket, and builders appear to be delaying project starts as a result. Single-family starts fell 13.4% during the month, while multifamily starts edged up 0.8%. Apartment projects appear to be moving forward again alongside rebounding leasing activity, both in the suburbs and hard-hit urban markets.
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