Housing activity advances in the face of the ongoing pandemic

Even five months into the pandemic, many industries are still experiencing the effects of COVID-19. However, U.S. housing activity has notably pushed past the early turmoil it experienced. After several months of hesitation, housing indicators are beginning to show growth once again.

Maintenance and remodeling activity—a subset of maintenance that includes renovations, additions, and alterations—increased healthily in July. Meanwhile, existing housing spend declined slightly or remained relatively flat, which could be attributed to the project size or materials costs associated with these projects.

In the new construction sphere, single-family housing authorizations declined year over year, but increased month over month. That disparity may indicate that while single-family housing authorizations have not yet reached last year’s volumes, new construction is ramping up.

New and Existing Housing Supply Activity, July 2020

  • Single-family housing authorizations decreased 5.28% year over year.
  • Existing housing maintenance volume increased 5.60% year over year.
  • Existing housing remodel volume increased 2.59% year over year. 

“Housing activity has the potential to return to its early 2020 growth trajectory. Existing housing supply has shown a dramatic bounce back,” said Jonathan Kanarek, managing director of BuildFax, a Verisk business. “Maintenance activity, for instance, grew from double-digit declines in April to a healthy increase this month. We’re still seeing some hesitance in the market, including the conflicting signals within new construction and decreases in construction spend. However, growth in new and existing housing activity signify consumers’ underlying need for a larger and healthier housing stock.”

Download the full report for a deep dive into how housing activity has reacted to progression of the COVID-19 outbreak.