Jan 19, 2017

Get ready for the 2017 housing-construction boom

Homebuilders broke ground at an annual rate of 1.2 million new homes in December, an increase of 11.3% over November, beating economists expectations.

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

The news, along with recent surveys showing higher homebuilder confidence, solidifies the narrative that homebuilders are finally ready to start producing in earnest again, more than 10 years after the peak of the mid-aughts housing bubble.

Trulia economist Ralph McLaughlin points out in a research note that when controlling for the number of households in the U.S., housing construction remains 38% below its long-run average. That means there is plenty of room for the industry to continue to recover.

Why it matters: At it's peak, the housing industry can contribute upwards of 18% to overall GDP. And home construction jobs are the sort of middle-skilled, middle-class employment that the U.S. desperately lacking. A steep increase in housing construction activity could be a huge boon for the economy in 2017.

Go deeper

Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response


President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Multiple people have died in a shooting at the Molson Coors brewery complex, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters on Wednesday. He said he "believed" the shooter is among those dead, although police have not confirmed this.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. "There are various sources citing various numbers of casualties. At this time that information has not been confirmed,"the police said.

Axios Dashboard

Keep up with breaking news throughout the day — sign up for our alerts.