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 Also see

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.