Home Construction Booming, But Commercial Lagging

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Robison Wells
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According to a new report in the New York Times Thursday, residential construction rose 2.1% from July to August, while non-residential—which was already suffering—dropped another 4%. The one exception to this is distribution centers, which continue to be on the way up.

The National Association of Realtors announced on Wednesday that pending home sales increased 8.8% in August, which is a record high.

“Even before the pandemic, we had a housing shortage and one of the factors was a shortage of skilled construction workers,” said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist. “The residential sector is booming.”

In the first eight months of 2020, construction accounted for $927 billion, compared to $889 billion for the same period in 2019. Residential construction accounted for 44% of that, while private non-residential spending made up 33% and the remaining 23% was in public works. The majority of public spending was in education and highways.

The national supply of available homes hit a 40 year low in August, fueled by both rock-bottom mortgage rates and the demand for single-family homes as people are leaving multi-family dwellings in cities.

Homebuilders completed 1.2 million homes in August and there were 1.4 million starts.

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