Houzz Stat: Backlogs vary by renovation sector
Design-build firms have the longest backlogs, at an average of 7.4 weeks. General contractors and remodelers are not far behind, with an average seven-week wait time.
“Backlog” refers to the delay or wait time an average firm faces before starting a new midsize project due to its current project commitments.
While general contractors/remodelers and design-build companies report the longest delays before they can take on a new job, architects also have lengthy backlogs, averaging 5.9 weeks, as do landscape and outdoor specialty firms, at 5.6 weeks on average. Landscape and outdoor specialty firms include landscape architects, designers and contractors; outdoor replacement trades such as pavers; and outdoor product installers, manufacturers and resellers of items such as pools and spas.
Building and renovation specialty firms include replacement contractors (for example, carpenters) and product installers, manufacturers and resellers (of cabinetry, for example).
Continue reading the latest industry confidence levels here.
NRF again calls for level playing field
The National Retail Federation, a long-time opponent of tax rules that favor internet retilers over brick-and-mortar retailers, issued the following statement Sept. 14 regarding the South Dakota case involving online sales tax collection:
The National Retail Federation said a ruling issued today by the South Dakota Supreme Court sets the stage for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit a long-out-of-date ruling on ecommerce. But NRF called on Congress to quickly pass legislation allowing states to require online sellers to collect sales tax the same as local stores rather than continuing to leave the issue in the hands of the courts.
“It’s time for Congress to pass a law that recognizes the evolution in the retail industry over the past two-and-half decades and say that online sellers should no longer be given an unfair advantage over Main Street merchants,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “The state of South Dakota is not going to stand for this loss. They are going to push their case, and that means it is very likely that there will be a new ruling on this issue by the U.S. Supreme Court. We are more than happy to see the Supreme Court revisit this issue, but we view a carefully crafted stakeholder-led decision in Congress as far preferable to a judicial decision that reverses the previous ruling without addressing the details of implementation.”
The South Dakota Supreme Court today ruled against a 2016 state law requiring online merchants with more than $100,000 in sales or 200 transactions with state residents to collect sales tax. The court said the state cannot require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax.
The ruling is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Quill decision, which held that online sellers can only be required to collect sales tax in states where they have a physical presence such as a store, office or warehouse.
French called on Congress to pass the Remote Transactions Parity Act, a bill pending in the House that would allow states to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax regardless of whether they have a presence in the customer’s state. The legislation also provides protection for small businesses from any potential compliance burden.
The South Dakota ruling comes two years after Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the U.S. Supreme Court made a mistake in Quill by relying on an outdated precedent on physical presence. Kennedy invited opponents of the decision to bring a new case that would allow the court to correct its mistake.
Demand for single-family rentals is on the rise
Rental houses have been in high demand since the housing market crashed, but a lack of supply has made renting those homes more expensive—and out of reach for some. That's according to new Zillow analysis which found that the median monthly rent for single-family homes is rising faster than the median monthly rent for apartments.
Zillow, an online real estate database company, reported that nearly half of all renters consider renting a single-family home, but less than a third actually do. While rents for both houses and apartments have slowed significantly over the past year, median rent for houses rose 1.3% annually to a monthly rent payment of $1,404, but median rent for apartments rose 0.5%, to a monthly rent payment of $1,551.
There are fewer single-family homes to rent than a decade ago. When the housing market crashed, investors grabbed many single-family homes lost to foreclosure and turned them into rentals. Almost 20% of all single-family homes across the U.S. were rented in 2016, up from 13.5% 10 years prior.
Meanwhile, rentals are in increasingly high demand because many aspiring homeowners don’t have enough money to buy a home. For example, a 20% down payment on a typical U.S. home costs more than two-thirds of the median household income, but can cost up to 180% of the median household income in pricier housing markets like San Jose and Los Angeles.
“When the market crashed, many families lost homes they owned during the foreclosure crisis, and now may not be able to afford to buy another as home prices rise," said Dr. Svengali Gudell, chief economist for Zillow. “Those who want to buy are finding it difficult to find the right one, or may need a bit more time to come up with a down payment, but still want the advantage of space that single-family residences often provide. This, coupled with the foreclosure crisis turning millions of homeowners into renters, is a big reason why demand for single-family rental homes has risen over the last few years.”
Other key findings:
- An increase in multi-family units, thanks to new construction trends over the past several years, has kept multi-family rents virtually flat.
- Single-family rents are rising faster than multi-family rents, led by Portland, Ore., New Orleans and Chicago.
- Generation X renters (ages 38-52) are significantly more likely to rent a single-family home than any other home type. More than 40% of Generation X renters rent a single-family home, compared to 25% of millennials (ages 18-37) and just 10% of Silent Generation renters (ages 73 and over).