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U.S. Housing Starts Outlook, Q3 2021 Update: ‘Start Me Up’

This post is the second in a series related to the Q3 2021 Forisk Research Quarterly (FRQ), which includes forest industry analysis, timber price forecasts, and featured research on forest carbon.

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, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Grant Thornton, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 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 2021 housing starts of 1.590 million, up 15.2% from 2020 actuals. Forisk’s Base Case peaks at 1.610 million housing starts before returning to a long-term trend approaching 1.50 million. Despite relative consensus that housing starts are trending higher for 2021, there is a diverse range of expectations for 2022. For example, NAR posits an even stronger 2022 with a forecast of 1.680 million while Grant Thornton forecasts a more muted 1.410 million. This represents a range of 270 thousand starts.

To learn more about the Forisk Research Quarterly (FRQ), click here or call Forisk at 770.725.8447.

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