Home Buying Season and Severe Hail Storms May Spur Increased Housing Activity: March BuildFax Housing Health Report

The March BuildFax Housing Health Report (BHHR) revealed the fifth consecutive month of declines across national housing indicator. However, the report also identified a few factors that may contribute to a rise in housing maintenance over the next few months. Chief among them are spring home buying season and increased hail activity. Over the past few years, hail has caused substantial damage to roof and mechanical systems in the Midwest and Texas. Severe weather activity, which has increased in recent years, is an important gauge of property health across the U.S. – particularly during times of severe weather, structures see increased risk.

New and Existing Housing Supply

On a national level, single-family housing authorizations, maintenance and remodel volumes trended down for the fifth consecutive month. It’s important to monitor decreases in single-family housing authorizations, which are correlated to historical recessions. Similarly, tracking maintenance and remodel activity provides insight into the health of the existing housing stock. Existing housing spend, which increased in January and February, also fell in March, suggesting increases in spend may not be a long-lasting trend.

New Housing Supply Activity, March 2019

  • Single-family housing authorizations decreased 8.39 percent year over year.
  • Single-family housing authorizations decreased 2.56 percent month over month.

Existing Housing Supply Activity, March 2019

  • Existing housing maintenance volume decreased 5.07 percent year over year.
  • Existing housing remodel volume decreased 9.76 percent year over year.

State-Level Maintenance Activity

Even as housing activity slows, some states saw an increase in year-over-year maintenance activity in March. The highest increase was in New Mexico at 11.30 percent, followed by New York (11.07 percent), and North Carolina (7.54 percent). Increases in maintenance activity can provide a good indication of where consumer confidence is high. In New Mexico, increased demand for oil and gas in the state may have contributed to its elevated activity this month.

Maintenance activity typically increases after severe weather seasons. North Carolina is still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which explains its increased activity. BuildFax estimates this major system maintenance will last another month or two. Meanwhile, Colorado typically sees an uptick in maintenance around hail season as residents prepare for potential summer hail damage.

See the full analysis here.

In-Depth: Severe Hail Storms

BuildFax analyzed six severe hail storms over the past three years in Minnesota, Colorado and Texas. Our analysis shows that the average recovery of major systems following a hail storm lasts 5.4 months and primarily impacts a property’s mechanical system and roof. On a national level, roof maintenance increased 246.92 percent in aggregate across all six storms in the three months following the average hail storm compared to the year prior.

For more insight on the health of the U.S. housing market and the impact of natural disasters on the housing stock, download the March 2019 report.