This is the first in a series related to Forisk’s Q4 2019 forest industry analysis and timber price forecasts for the United States.
Through September 2019, U.S. housing starts decreased 1.3% year-over-year; single-family starts declined 1.8%, while multifamily starts were flat. The U.S. South, which accounts for the largest share of housing starts nationally, diverged from other regions, gaining 6.0% year-over-year. Though currently tracking below 2018, housing slowed in the latter part of last year after a strong start. Q3 2019 housing starts provided the highest third quarter read since 2007.
Each quarter when updating our Forisk Research Quarterly (FRQ) forecast models, we revisit prior projections and review applied research on business and economic forecasting. Forisk’s Housing Starts Outlook combines independent forecasts from professionals in the housing industry. Currently, these include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), PNC, and Wells Fargo. Forisk applies long-term assumptions from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies to establish the peak and trend over the next ten years (Figure).
Forisk projects 2019 housing starts of 1.252 million, up 0.2% from 2018 actuals. Forisk’s 2019 Base Case stabilizes around its long-term trend of 1.50 million housing starts. Our current forecast remains consistent with our previous expectations.
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