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June’s new construction activity sees greatest year-over-year decline since 2015

Remodel activity’s rate of decline is easing up

Single-family housing authorizations in June sunk 10.02% year-over-year – the steepest year-over-year decline in the past five years, according to a report by Buildfax, a property condition data service provider.

Month over month, June experienced a 3.77% decline in single-family housing authorizations, though Jonathan Kanarek, managing director for Buildfax, said housing activity may be stabilizing after such steep declines.

If single-family housing authorizations follow a similar pattern to existing housing activity there is a chance new construction could stabilize in the fall, according to the report.

“However, as is the case with any economy-impacting event, this projection is subject to shifts in policy and societal regulations as the U.S. grapples with lowering its COVID-19 case count,” Kanarek said.

Existing housing activity experienced declines across most major indicators, the report said. Maintenance spend declined 11.93% year-over-year, however, maintenance volume remained relatively flat – increasing 0.22% since June 2019.

The remodel volume – a subset of maintenance that includes renovations, additions and alterations – fell 0.98% year-over-year, a stark contrast from the 16.66% decline May saw. Remodel spend also declined 5.92% year-over year.

In April, existing housing activity saw it’s steepest decline when maintenance volume and spend slid 29.09% and 29.71% year over year, respectively.

According to the report, maintenance and remodeling activity gradually rose as the number of construction jobs continued to grow. This sentiment is supported by recent data from the National Association of Home Builders that construction unemployment fell to 12% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 15.2% in May.

“While the initial shock to the housing market was substantial, housing professionals across the industry are learning to adjust to new COVID-19 norms,” Kanarek said “Mortgage applications are rising and the market is experiencing strong demand from young buyers.”

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