Housing activity experiences blanket increases for the first time since November

Housing activity experienced notable growth in August, seemingly spurred along by historically low mortgage rates and increases in consumer demand driven by post-pandemic shifts in homebuying behaviors.

In the new construction sphere, single-family housing authorizations increased, a sign that housing activity is advancing in the face of the pandemic. As builders work to close the gap on the housing shortage that was exacerbated during the first few months of the pandemic, the next few months may see an even greater ramp-up of new construction activity.

Meanwhile, maintenance and remodeling activity—a subset of maintenance that includes renovations, additions, and alterations—increased across the board in August. BuildFax research revealed that a share of these increases can be attributed to substantial upgrades to the existing housing stock.

New and Existing Housing Supply Activity, August 2020

  • Single-family housing authorizations increased 2.20% year over year.
  • Existing housing maintenance volume increased 5.32% year over year.
  • Existing housing remodel volume increased 1.04% year over year. 

Pool construction spikes amid the pandemic

Large homeowner projects are, in part, what’s driving the increase in maintenance and remodeling activity. For instance, pool construction spiked to unprecedented levels in the months following the COVID-19 outbreak. On a national level, pool construction increased 35.97% year over year in August.

This drastic increase likely reflects a substantial investment from homeowners in the existing housing stock. Many homeowners who were ready to sell, but are now unwilling due to safety or economic reasons, are likely adding premium-impacting additions to their property, like pools.

Download the full report for a deep dive into how housing activity is shifting six months into the pandemic.