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Housing demand, home prices to increase as families relocate from recent hurricanes

Already tight supply exacerbated by hurricanes

The recent hurricanes will cause surrounding areas to see an increase in home prices and an uptick in housing demand as residents evacuate the disaster areas in Florida and South Texas, according to Freddie Mac’s latest monthly Outlook for October.

The report analyzed the effects of the recent hurricanes, saying it could create a tighter inventory squeeze along with an increase in mortgage delinquencies.

“Texas and Florida together represent 24% of the total housing starts in the U.S. housing units impacted by the hurricanes are a fraction of the total starts in Texas and Florida, so we do not expect a huge national impact,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said. “However, the hurricanes won't help with tight inventories. Building activities in the hurricane-affected areas may slow down as labor and capital gets drawn into rebuilding.”

In the beginning stages of the recovery process, Black Knight Financial Services predicted the mortgage industry could see up to 300,000 new delinquencies as a result of Hurricane Harvey, with 160,000 borrowers becoming seriously past due.

Later, the first numbers from Black Knight started to roll in as mortgage delinquencies rose 16%, and according to the report, the hurricane’s impact on mortgages will likely get worse.

Freddie Mac estimates the storms destroyed a combined 270,000 homes, more than 15,000 in Houston alone. Due to the number of home destroyed, Freddie Mac predicted it will lead to an increase in demand in the surrounding areas.

The already-tight supply was exacerbated by the hurricanes, bringing total home sales to a weak 5.9 million units in August, the report explained. Freddie Mac predicted mortgage delinquencies could rise 16% in the disaster areas.

As many as 300,000 borrowers could become delinquent and another 160,000 could become seriously delinquent. Freddie Mac suspended foreclosures and evictions in the wake of the hurricanes.

Labor shortages in Texas were already high before the storms as 69% of contractors found it hard to fill positions. It is estimated that the Houston metro along could need as many as 20,000 construction workers to handle the volume of repair and reconstruction work it needs.

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