Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Instant Reaction: Housing Starts, October 20, 2020

When homes get built, jobs are created through multiple cascading effects. Aside from construction and trade contractors, lumber mills and moving trucks get going along with land developers and title companies. And of course, more inventory becomes available for consumers. That is why today’s data in surging housing starts is so welcome: moving the economy in a better direction. Homeownership will also rise with more choices.

A gain of 8.1% from a year ago to 1.415 million new unit production (annualized) is good but far more units are needed. Housing permits, a precursor to starts, were better at 1.55 million. Rising lumber prices and a shortage of construction workers could present challenges. The country needs to boost vocational training to move workers who lost jobs in retail, restaurants, and hotels into the higher paying construction industry.

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