Apr 4, 2022 - Economy & Business

Hot housing market creates real estate jobs boom

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Despite a sharp rise in mortgage rates, U.S. housing market activity continues to sizzle, and — at least through March — generate a juicy slab of new jobs each month.

The big picture: There are now nearly 1.8 million people working in real estate services, more than before the pandemic hit.

  • Friday's strong employment report showed that almost 14,000 new jobs were created in real estate and rental leasing in March, after an average of about 11,000 per month over the last year.
  • The last two years have been the busiest stretch of real estate job creation since the housing bubble was at its bubbliest in the years between 2002 and 2005.

Flashback: When the pandemic hit, the Fed cut interest rates to almost nothing, mortgage rates plunged, and a housebound nation turned to Zillow. Presto, employment bonanza.

  • Yes, but: Now that the Fed's raising rates, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is nearly 4.7%, up from just a bit over 3% at the end of 2021, according to Freddie Mac.

What we're watching: That could act as a brake on housing activity at some point, potentially slowing job growth.

  • Employment in residential construction fell by 2,600 in March, the largest drop in almost a year.
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