Oct 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

Homebuilding slows, plagued by labor and materials shortages

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Housing starts and building permits both ticked down in September, with shortages of labor and building materials keeping a lid on activity.

Why it matters: Home prices have risen rapidly over the last year, as the pandemic reshuffled where we live and work — leading many Americans to relocate.

  • The supply of existing homes on the market is constrained, so more new homes are needed to meet the demand.

By the numbers: Housing starts in September fell by 1.6% from August. Consensus expectations were for a 0.45% gain.

  • Building permits, an indicator for future housing starts, fell 7.7%, compared to expectations for a 1.2% decline.
  • The number of homes authorized, but not yet started, moved down slightly, but remains near the record high reached in June.

What we're watching: Existing home sales data is out Thursday, which will provide an update on inventories and price movement. In August, supply went down and prices ebbed.

Go deeper: Building the future depends on building more housing

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