Natural Disasters Contribute to Shift in Maintenance Activity: April BuildFax Housing Health Report

The April BuildFax Housing Health Report (BHHR) revealed an increase in maintenance activity after five months of decreases, while single-family housing authorizations continued to decline.  Maintenance activity increases are owed, in part, to severe convective storms across the U.S. With hurricane season on the horizon, BuildFax anticipates inclement weather to continue to impact maintenance volumes, despite the housing slowdown.

New and Existing Housing Supply

On a national level, single-family housing authorizations, which are correlated to historical recessions, trended down for the sixth consecutive month. Meanwhile, maintenance activity saw its first year-over-year increase since November 2018. While there is typically a spotlight on new construction, maintenance is also a must-watch indicator as it represents the health of the existing housing stock, which accounts for more than 90% of all U.S. properties.

New and Existing Housing Supply Activity, April 2019

  • Single-family housing authorizations decreased 8.23% year over year.
  • Existing housing maintenance volume increased 2.45% year over year.
  • Existing housing remodel volume decreased 0.95% year over year.

Amid Slowdown, Hurricane-Related Maintenance Activity Persists

Ahead of this year’s hurricane season, carriers are increasingly looking to verify properties impacted last year have completed necessary construction. While North Carolina and South Carolina saw year-over-year increases in maintenance activity this month, maintenance in Florida declined. This is, in part, due to complexities of overlapping storm recovery – Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in October 2018, came on the heels of a greater and more severe Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in August 2017.

See the full analysis here.

Five Factors to Impact 2019 Hurricane recovery

An analysis of 11 hurricanes between 2000 and 2018 revealed the average hurricane recovery timeline lasts 10.7 months. While early hurricane forecasts suggest a below-average season, five key factors determine how hurricane rebuilding timelines might be amplified amidst a housing slowdown. This is particularly important for carriers looking ahead to the 2019 hurricane season.

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