Somehow it’s June, and we’re halfway through 2021. Time has been passing quickly, even more so as vaccinations bring a bit more normalcy back to day-to-day life just in time for summer. (Although I admit I’m mostly looking forward to the fall, when my son will attend school in person for more than a total of nine days.)
In addition to hosting the start of summer, June is when the housing industry celebrates National Homeownership Month. The importance of home has been repeatedly highlighted over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has certainly resulted in Americans giving more thought to where and how they live.
Research shows that most households view housing as a good investment in comparison to the stock market, notes the NAHB. In a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, when asked whether a young couple should purchase a primary residence or invest in the stock market, more than 90% of the survey respondents chose housing.
A healthy housing industry results in more jobs and a stronger economy. According to the NAHB, the construction of 1,000 single-family homes creates 2,900 full-time jobs across all U.S. industries, $80 million in wages, and more than $56 million in federal, state, and local tax revenues and fees. For home building companies looking for ways to celebrate homeownership, NAHB provides an online toolkit, which offers talking points, consumer articles and information, and links to relevant reports and studies.
June is also the month when BUILDER releases its annual Local Leaders list, which tracks the 50 largest new-home markets across the country according to closings, in addition to the top 10 builders in each of those markets. There was no shift in the top five markets—Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Austin—but all of them did report more closings in 2020 than in 2019. There are just four markets on the latest list that were not represented last year: Boston; Columbia, South Carolina; Tucson, Arizona; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“Housing demand could not be better today,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist at Zonda. “Each of the main buyer types are looking to buy a home for a collection of reasons, including increased savings, healthy home equity, low interest rates, and fear of missing out. Zonda’s forecasts call for both home sales and starts to be better in 2021 than 2020 overall, but the market is not without headwinds.”
In a recent article, Wolf highlights findings from Zonda’s latest millennial survey. She notes that there are reasons to be optimistic about demand given the fact that more millennials are working from home, looking to move, and interested in buying a home in the near future. However, she cautions that affordability is still a major issue and that focus needs to remain on providing “the right product for a rising mortgage rate and price environment.”
That said, 60% of millennial respondents said they saved more money in 2020 than in 2019, and many plan to use their savings for a down payment for a home. Seems like an appropriate fact to celebrate not only this month but also beyond.