Housing data could boost construction industry

Housing data is giving construction workers reason to smile again.
Housing data is giving construction workers reason to smile again.
Reports on dropping home prices and rising home sales could provide a boost to the long-struggling home construction and related industries, such as construction equipment.

The latest report on housing affordability from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) indicates that the down market could be pushing consumers to start buying again. NAHB said half of all U.S. households can afford today's $200,000 median-priced new home.

Income and housing price data show that the number of households that can afford to purchase a home today rose to 55.4 million, compared with 38.4 million two years ago, NAHB reported.

"That's an increase of 17 million households from conditions just two years ago and the best housing affordability number we have seen in years," said NAHB chairman Joe Robson. "We are now seeing the first signs that buyers are returning to the marketplace."

With the spring home buying season now here, NAHB said there are other signs that buyers are starting to return to the market.

Building permits, new and existing home sales all posted gains last month as the huge inventory backlog is slowly whittled down.

A survey for Century 21 Real Estate last month among prospective first-time home buyers found 78 percent said that now is a good time to buy a home.