Single-family housing starts exemplify the construction economy’s COVID-19 heartbreak in the first quarter of 2020.
Total 2019 residential starts were 1.4 million units, just 0.3% above 2018, with single-family starts down 1,000 and multifamily up 1%.
“We expected 2020 single-family starts to decline mildly again,” Richard Branch, chief economist with Dodge Data & Analytics told webinar attendees on April 9. “But Q1 was the best quarter since 2007 – 940,000 units (seasonally adjusted annualized rate).”
Then March became a tale of two months; housing starts growing early as the construction season unfolded, in line with March of 2019. And then the virus hit. Construction moratoria and stay-at-home orders in the last week doused so much work.
“Q2 home sales probably could fall by 50% compared to Q1, bringing us back to the levels we last saw during the Great Recession in 2007, 2008 and 2009,” Branch says. “And that could be optimistic, depending on how long the stay-at-home and physical-distancing requirements stay in place. Click here to read the entire article.