In what is surely good news for wholesale nurseries and landscapers, CNN/Money reported that new housing starts in the month of August were up 29 percent from a year ago. New housing starts, consisting of both single family and multifamily, have reached an annualized level of about 750,000 housing units.
This is far below the peak of about 2 million housing units, which was attained in 2005. However, it’s still an improvement over the housing slump of the past several years, when a glut of foreclosures and unsold new homes flooded the market. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) hailed it as positive news:
“Builders across the country have been reporting noticeable improvement in the number of serious buyers who are in the market for a new home, and today’s report shows that this is translating to some welcome gains in construction activity,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “While there is still plenty of room for improvement, it’s encouraging to see this continuing trend that is spurring much-needed job growth.” For every 100 new single-family homes that are built, 300 new jobs are created, he noted.
Growers of larger plant material, particularly B&B, have been dependent on homebuilding and construction activity as a significant hunk of their market. Good news for the homebuilders is likely good news for these growers.
How does this break down nationally? According to NAHB, regional growth has been strongest in the Midwest and South, and weak in the Northeast and West. Single family starts have grown in all regions, but overall housing starts are down in the latter two regions, due to weakness in multifamily.