The U.S. housing sector is closely watched by investors from all over the world. It has strategic importance both for the United States GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and for the world’s economies.
People are too focused now on the COVID-19 pandemic to remember that the previous crisis, a financial one, started from the U.S. housing sector. In 2008-2009, the U.S. housing market bubble burst, a combination of derivative products used the wrong way, and so the market collapsed rapidly. The shockwave reached Europe and other developed economies, generating a financial crisis that haunted Europe for several years.
Fast forward to 2021, the world still struggles with the pandemic, but the housing market in the United States is in an unprecedented boom. This is very good news for the domestic economy and also for other economies. After all, when America’s economy outperforms, the positive spillovers influence other economies too.
Recovery Stronger Than Expected As Suggested by Strong Housing Sector Activity
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered changes in consumer behavior. People learned that online shopping (for some products) is as good as going out and buying the product. And, cheaper.
Therefore, the chances are that most of the changes seen during the pandemic are here to stay. One of the most interesting changes affected the workplace. Those who can work from home have built a home office, for example.
Also, people fled cities for outdoor spaces. Or, they stopped using common transportation favoring personal cars.
As such, contrary to all expectations, the COVID-19 recession was unique as both the auto and the housing sectors performed well. In particular, the housing sector has seen tremendous growth, as America literally faces a shortage of new houses.
And lumber to build them.
The price of lumber broke above $1,000 as there is no lumber enough to satisfy the demand. For those unfamiliar with the commodities market, lumber is a product of timberland and is usually harvested in periods of rising prices.
This is such a period. However, the demand from the U.S. housing market is so strong that the futures market still points to higher lumber prices. Commodities are typically traded on futures exchanges, where the clearinghouse brings together buyers and sellers and settles the prices on a daily basis.
When the spot price exceeds the futures price, it is said that the market is in backwardation. The entire lumber futures curve is in backwardation – a bullish sign suggesting more upside is possible for the price of lumber.
Therefore, investors should expect more upside for the U.S. housing market and, thus, for the U.S. economy. Are we about to witness one of the biggest economic recoveries in history?