Residential Construction Starts In 2017: What Midwestern Builders Need To Know

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The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regularly release data on housing construction starts throughout the country. These numbers can be an extremely helpful indicator of both residential housing trends and the health of the economy overall.
That’s because housing crises and economic recessions are often closely linked. When housing starts decline over sustained periods of time, the nation’s economy can suffer as a result.

For builders, in particular, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date on these trends. Having a thorough understanding of residential construction starts in your region can help inform your entire business. They can help you plan ahead to ensure your financial stability.

For the same reasons, it’s helpful to know what some of the most requested renovation jobs are during a given time. A National Association of Home Builders survey found, for example, that 69{5d48e55705a6dc1a60893e372db6872fa8ae9d73e73c767fb18d2b27d2ee9817} of all remodeling jobs included kitchen renovations. That can also help builders and contractors decide which materials to use in the homes they work on. If the market can support upscale materials like quartz countertops, then builders will be more likely to install quartz countertops in the homes they construct. Likewise, if budget friendly post form laminate countertops are what buyers want to see, builders and contractors need to respond accordingly.

While residential construction starts have steadily increased over the last few years — and even over the last couple of months — nationally, builders in the Midwest should be aware that housing unit construction has decreased a bit over just the last month or so. In June 2017, the number of privately owned housing units authorized in permit-issuing locations numbered 207,000 in the Midwest. But in July 2017, those numbers decreased to 170,000. Not only did the numbers decline month to month, but they also dropped when compared to the same period last year, when 188,000 new housing units were authorized. However, keep in mind that these monthly statistics can be impacted by any number of factors; builders should be worried only if the trend continues to decline over a longer period.

It may also be helpful to builders, contractors, and designers to understand a bit more about internal building trends in homes throughout the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25,000 single-family homes of the 738,000 constructed in 2016 had one and a half bathrooms or fewer, while 273,000 homes had three or more bathrooms. Understanding what buyers need and want to see in new homes — in this case, multiple full bathrooms — can help builders determine how to design their homes and what materials to use within them. While materials used were not included in these types of surveys, it would benefit your business to research whether laminate, marble, or quartz countertops are most popular in your area.

Undoubtedly, construction starts can be the first step to understanding the regional housing market for manufacturers, builders, contractors, and designers. Once you determine what buyers are looking for, you can help them make decisions about the materials they want in their home. And, as always, when you need assistance with pricing those materials, our SQUAD online tool can ensure your countertops quotes are accurate