BOSTON – Despite concerns about the condition of the economy, there are still many positive factors affecting housing expansion.

A presentation by Robert Dietz of the National Association of Home Builders on housing trends, demographics, construction metrics, inventory and forecasts focused on positive and negative factors affecting housing growth.

A few takeaways from that presentation at the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America meeting in Boston:

--The new townhouse market is expanding, and Dietz sees this as a real growth market.

--Single-family starts in 2019 was forecast to be down 2 percent this year, but may wind up being flat. Growth of about 2 percent is forecast for 2020 and 2021.

--Multifamily housing starts are expanding in smaller cities. Growth of 1 percent in 2020 and 4 percent in 2021 is forecast.

--Student loans are up sharply, and only 60 percent of students complete a degree within five years. That means that a significant number of people are not graduating but still have debt as much as $30,000 or larger. This is affecting the number of young people who can be first-time homebuyers.

--Housing affordability is an issue in many cities, especially on the West Coast.

--The shortage of labor in construction is also affecting the number of houses that can be built.

--Remodeling work is expected to decline in 2019, but get back to expansion in 2020.

For more information see  http://eyeonhousing.org Also see https://www.nahb.org/

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