Low Fed Rates, Flight to the Suburbs Set to Boost U.S. Homebuilders

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(Reuters) – U.S. homebuilders are expected to report a sharp rebound in sales and orders for the second quarter as record-low mortgage rates and the working-from-home changes brought on by the coronavirus encourage more Americans to move to less crowded suburbs.

A quarter ago most homebuilders were pulling their annual forecasts and bracing for a huge fall in orders due to mounting cancellations in the face of historic U.S. job losses that left buyers worried about their financial future.

Builders have been among the fastest recovering sectors from the initial round of lockdowns, however, with U.S. housing starts up 17% in June as rock bottom interest rates got sales moving again.

A nationwide Harris poll also showed almost 40% of urban dwellers would now consider moving to less populated areas, and percentages browsing online for properties are even higher.

“Record-low rates and a powerful ‘nesting’ trend are driving strong order growth and pricing by the builders, this is now largely embedded in expectations,” Evercore ISI analyst Stephen Kim said.

Refinitiv’s consensus of analysts’ estimates shows revenue for PulteGroup Inc, which kicks off the sector’s earnings on Thursday, will rise by 9.5% from the preceding quarter. Its bigger rival, D.R. Horton is expected to see growth of 14%.

Read the full story at The New York Times.