Economical Updates February 17, 2017

A Bumpy Ride

Residential construction was mixed in January, not unusual in an industry so easily affected by weather. Permitting was strong at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.228 million units (808,000 of them single-family), up 4.6% from the previous month and 8.2% higher than a year earlier. Housing starts, however, were down, although not seriously so. Ground was broken at a 1.246 million-unit rate during the month, 2.6% below December’s pace. The rate for single-family starts was up by 1.9%. Construction activity in the West softened considerably with permits and starts both down by double digits.
It has become almost routine for housing start numbers to swing monthly from positive to negative and back again, and the entire residential construction report is always, what Econoday calls “bumpy.” The report’s numbers (which also include housing completions; down 5.6% this time) often move in different directions, and big revisions of earlier estimates are common. Econoday, however, says, “In sum, housing starts and permits are pointing to continuing strength for new homes where lack of supply held down what nevertheless was a solidly positive 2016 for the sector.”
About to buy or remodel? We certainly hope you have checked with Buddy or Max about your plans. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed both homeowners and Realtors and found that the family pet carries a lot of weight when it comes to decisions about buying, selling, and most particularly remodeling a home.
According to NAR’s recent report, Animal House: Remodeling Impact, 81% of consumer respondents said that considerations related to their fur-babies (or even fin-babies) play a role in decisions about their next living situation. Ninety-nine percent of pet owners in the survey said they consider their pets to be part of the family and 89% said they would not give up their animal to comply with housing restrictions. Nineteen percent said they would consider moving to accommodate their pet; 12% said they had already done so.
Realtors reported pet-owning clients often refuse to make an offer because a home was not ideal for their animal and nearly two-thirds of their customers had encountered problems finding a rental property or a home because of landlord or homeowner association restrictions.
When it comes to remodeling, more than half of all respondents said they had completed a home renovation project to accommodate their animal. Most often cited were fences, laminate flooring, and dog doors. Most reported they (the owners and the dogs) were very happy with the changes.

No surprise in these findings. Pet parents always knew who was in charge.