The vitality of single-family homebuilding in 2019 will depend on many things that are out of the industry’s control: how often the Fed raises interest rates, whether wildfires will once again sweep across western Canada and the U.S, and much more.
Here are three trends that are likely to impact single-family construction this year:
Offsite construction will continue to gain traction – Using European precision-machining, factory-built homes now meet the tightest tolerances and greatly reduce material waste. The process is dramatically reducing installation time and costs – and will be used by even more builders next year.
Meeting fire codes will get more difficult as lot sizes shrink – According to NAHB’s latest figures, the median lot size of a new single-family detached home is now about 8,560 square feet – down from 10,000 square feet in the early 1990s. Many new homes are zero lot line projects, where the house comes right up to the property line. Products like LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing are helping builders meet increasingly stringent fire codes for these homes that are often just a few feet apart.
More communities will strive to eliminate land development bottlenecks – The shortage of available lots is constricting growth in the construction field. Many forward-looking jurisdictions are taking steps to speed the approval process. In 2019, look for many more cities and states to implement one-stop permitting (“fast-tracking”) and other reforms like combining public hearings for faster community input.
Overall, most experts predict that the U.S. economy’s strong tailwinds – including record-low unemployment – will set the stage for a strong year ahead in single-family homebuilding.
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