On-Site ‘Printed’ Housing

Affordability returns as a condition of the housing market as prices of existing homes “goes through the roof.” New construction of residential properties is hampered by supply chain cost increases, especially on lumber, although pricing has inched slightly better. However, the result is the United States is still experiencing a severe shortage of housing stock.


Supply Chain Issues

Sales of new and existing houses have been boosted by low interest rates on mortgages and an apparent pent-up demand from buyers who have been pent-up at home during the COVID-9 pandemic. According to the NAHB (National Assn. of Home Builders)/Wells Fargo HMI (Housing Market Index), builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes was 83 in May, unchanged from April, despite growing concerns over the price and availability of most building materials, including lumber.

A lack of resale inventory, low mortgage interest rates, and a growing demographic of prospective home buyers, were cited as reasons for optimism. First-time and first-generation home buyers are still at risk for losing a purchase due to cost hikes associated with increasingly scarce material availability. The consensus is that policymakers must find ways to increase production of domestic building materials, including lumber and steel, and suspend tariffs on imports of construction materials.


2020: COVID, Lockdowns, Losses

History will find the year 2020 was eventful, to say the least. Pandemic, economic meltdown due to lockdown, deaths and depression, glimmers of hope at the end of the year. At the one-year mark since COVID-19 became recognized as a pandemic, virus-based disease, there was movement in a positive direction on all fronts. A bright note was found in the economic outlook as businesses showed signs of coming out of the doldrums.

According to a survey by Intuit QuickBooks, U.S. small businesses are on the road to recovery from the financial losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Recovery, uncovers the varied impact the pandemic has had on small businesses across different industries and geographies since March 2020, when COVID-19 caused many business owners to temporarily shut their doors.


Multi-State, Multi-Challenging

Every state—and even cities and regions within the state—presents its own challenges to construction companies. Your home state rules and regulations eventually become commonplace but what happens when you expand to other cities or across stateliness? How do you learn and adopt the rules of each location where you work? You need assistance and there are places to turn for that help.

A case in point are the tax and work rules that vary from state to state. SEMA Precast, based in Brighton, Colo., is a heavy civil concrete precast manufacturer that has selected LOKI Systems’ Advanced Payroll platform to manage the complex federal, state, and local payroll processing and the local compliance requirements of union employees. The implementation of Advanced Payroll is underway, with the first of several companies in SEMA's corporate structure successfully launched and additional companies scheduled to be added during 2021. The full implementation will encompass more than 1,000 employees across multiple locations.


Multifamily Housing to Rebound

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a great deal of economic pain across the world. States and the federal government saw the need for relief to mitigate the impact on citizens and companies alike. After four years of a steady, upward trajectory, rent growth flattened in 2020. Due in part to pandemic-related issues, rent growth in December 2020 was up just 0.4% from 2019. One approach was to offer eviction protection, preventing landlords from evicting tenants who were behind in their rent due to the pandemic’s effects.

For example, in California the governor and legislature moved to protect millions of tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. These protections apply to tenants who declare an inability to pay all or part of the rent due to a COVID-related reason. Tenants are still responsible for paying unpaid amounts to landlords, but those unpaid amounts cannot be the basis for an eviction.


Infrastructure Report for 2021

While COVID-19 impacted all segments of the economy, construction was deemed an essential occupation in most areas and, although hardly flourishing, was able to continue working, often in a limited capacity due to illness and concerns about exposure to the coronavirus. One of the subsets, civil and infrastructure construction, was slowed by the impact of the shutdowns and falling tax base that governments depend upon to fund civil works. Projects were postponed, cancelled, or delayed, sometimes for months, while the states and federal governments went back and forth on which would assume the costs.


Housing: Coming out Strong from 2020

Obviously, 2020 was a bad year for many people and industries. Among the few positive elements was a strong market for low-interest mortgages, and that led to housing starts ending the year on a strong note. Led by a solid, double-digit gain in single-family starts, overall housing starts increased 5.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.67 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The December reading of 1.67 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if development kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 12% to a 1.34 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, decreased 13.6% to a 331,000 pace.