Investor Intel: Out Like a Lion?

Contributing Writer, B2R Finance | News

The U.S economy continued to add jobs at a steady pace in March. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 215,000 in March according to the Labor Department. Today’s report showed the strongest job growth in the retail, construction and health care industries. Though the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5.0% in March, the report also showed that 396,000 workers have stepped off the sidelines.

The bright spot in this report for housing market is the addition of 37,000 jobs to the construction industry – welcome news for a sector squeezed by lack of inventory. Job gains occurred among residential specialty trade contractors (+12,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+11,000). Construction has added 301,000 total jobs this year.

“New construction jobs provided a double boost to the economy in March. These jobs not only helped feed strong employment growth but also provided a lift to the housing market, where the dearth of homes for sale has stymied homebuyers for the past year. Much of the decline in new housing starts is attributable the lack of skilled construction workers, so the 12,000-worker increase in residential specialty trade contractors is welcome news in today’s report, especially when paired with the pickup in new single-family construction we saw in February,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson.

Job growth isn’t the only thing driving the housing market. According to Freddie Mac’s March Outlook, housing markets are poised for their best year in a decade.

“In our latest forecast, total home sales, housing starts, and house prices will reach their highest levels since 2006. Low mortgage rates, robust job growth and a gradual increase in housing supply will help drive housing markets forward. Low levels of inventory for-sale and for-rent and declining housing affordability will be major challenges, but on balance the nation’s housing markets should sustain their momentum from 2015 into 2016 and 2017,” said Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac.

Looking for an opportunity to get in on the momentum? Realtor.com’s recently published list of the top 20 markets for March might be a good place to start. Topping the list are Denver, CO; Dallas, TX and several cities on the West Coast.

Check out the full list here.

It seems that March is heading out like lion, so get ready for a red-hot spring.

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