MReport July 2020

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44 | M REPORT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Report: Homebuilding to Increase in Less-Populated Areas Suburbs, rural areas expected to see a boom due to COVID-19. T he National Associa- tion of Home Build- ers (NAHB) recently released its latest quarterly Home Building Geog- raphy Index (HBGI). The report highlighted the effects that the current COVID-19 pandemic is having—and will most likely have in the future moving for- ward—that being an uptick and increased amount of residential construction activity in lower- density markets especially. Such markets include smaller cities and more rural locales. This can be seen as a direct result of the pandemic, with COVID-19 hitting the nation's most populated, big metropolitan cities, wreaking havoc and caus- ing a plethora of challenges for current residences. The biggest difficulties that became factors in the face of the pandemic, thus leading to this shift toward big-city residents now seeking to reside further out in less-dense communities include crowded living conditions, dependency on mass transit, and insufficient health and public sector infra- structure. Additionally, COVID-19 continues to spread to more dense areas, the collateral damage continues to pile up, such as the majority of non-essential busi- nesses closing, the bludgeoning of the economy, and dramatically declining housing demand as residents flee to more suburban areas. Also, according to the HBGI, even though we are now seeing a huge and rapidly accelerating uptick in housing demand and home construction activity in the suburbs and less dense areas, this is not necessarily a new thing. In fact, the HGBI indicates that this trend has been going on for some time, but simply shifted into high gear as COVID-19 hit the scene. Specific statistics gleaned from the HBGI revealed that while sin- gle-family construction expanded across all seven HBGI-tracked economic geographies, it was the outlying suburbs of small metro areas that experienced the highest growth rate—an impressive 9.1% to be exact (on a one-year moving average). The experts predict that this trend of migration toward the outer lying areas will continue following COVID-19's wake.

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