May 2021 Newsletter

A key facet of our organization is the networking opportunities that our events and webinars afford AARC members.  Learning from your peers, getting insights on programs and initiatives that have worked (or not worked!) for them, and getting to know good folks who are in similar professional situations as you are – the collaboration and networking opportunities between members has been a hallmark of the AARC since our inception.

One networking area where we have lagged a bit behind is our formal presence on LinkedIn.  We have had a couple of different endeavors there, but we’ve honestly not had as rich and vibrant a presence as would be expected of an organization as broad and diverse as our’s.  We are hoping to change that this year.  A number of the members of the board – particularly Ben Keal and Wade Adler – have been adding to posts and content around our formal page, found here: AARC Linked-In Page

And we are always looking for more and better links, content, and news about members and the industry.  If you haven’t done so, an easy first step is to follow the AARC – see the button on the page from the link above.  A fairly easy second step is to help (liking, posting) with content and links – the more the better!

We’ll be using our LinkedIn presence to further promote the annual conference (Myrtle Beach in November…see info below), which is shaping up nicely under the leadership of co-chairs Ben Keal and Andre Nabors – two guys who would certainly welcome your thoughts and insights on conference content, too!  Bottom line: networking (both via social media and in person) is a benefit to all, can be a lot of fun, and is a hallmark of the AARC.  Take advantage!

Bill Houghton
Chair, The AARC


The AARC set to convene in Myrtle Beach,  SC
Nov 3-5 2021

The world isn’t the same as it was a year ago. Now that the dust has settled and the path ahead shows major signs of light, we’re excited to talk about what comes next.Join us for ‘Hindsight is 20/20: New Forecast for 2022’ in beautiful Myrtle Beach this fall.

This year’s AARC Annual Conference will reflect on a year like we’ve never experienced before. Most importantly, it will chart a path for success as we go forward. The retiree community industry’s top thought leaders and innovators will share insight, play-by-plays, and ideas for the future in this info-packed few days.

Learn More – Click Here


Skyrocketing Lumber Prices Add Nearly $36,000 to the Price of a New Home

National Association of Home Builders| April 28, 2021

Soaring lumber prices that have tripled over the past 12 months has caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $35,872, according to new analysis by the NAHB Economics team. This lumber price hike has also added nearly $13,000 to the market value of an average new multifamily home, which translates into households paying $119 a month more to rent a new apartment. Further adding to affordability woes, building material prices have by and large been steadily rising since 2020 and were up across the board in March.

The latest Random Lengths prices as of the week ending on April 23 show the price of framing lumber near $1,200 per thousand board feet — up nearly 250% since last April when the price was roughly $350 per thousand board feet.

NAHB calculated these average home price increases based on the softwood lumber that goes into the average new home, as captured in the Builder Practices Survey conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs. Included is any softwood used in structural framing (including beams, joists, headers, rafters and trusses), sheathing, flooring and underlayment, interior wall and ceiling finishing, cabinets, doors, windows, roofing, siding, soffit and fascia, and exterior features such as garages, porches, decks, railing, fences and landscape walls.

Why Lumber Prices Have Surged

These unprecedented lumber price hikes are attributable to the following factors:

  • Many mills reduced production last spring due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures enacted by state and local governments at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • When it became clear in the ensuing months that housing weathered the storm much better than predicted and demand remained strong, lumber mills did not ramp up production accordingly. 
  • Moreover, producers did not anticipate the massive uptick in demand from do-it-yourselfers and big box retailers during the pandemic. 
  • Finally, the extreme lumber price volatility has been exacerbated by tariffs on Canadian lumber imports into the U.S. market.

NAHB Actions

As lumber prices remain stubbornly high, NAHB continues to work relentlessly with the White House, Congress and lumber producers to increase production and bring prices lower. This is the top priority for the association. Since President Biden was sworn into office in January and the new 117th Congress was seated, NAHB has taken the following actions:

  • NAHB remains in close contact with the White House and will be meeting with top administration officials later this week to discuss the lumber situation.
  • At the same time, we continue to reach out to lumber producers, other policymakers and the media calling on lumber mills to increase production to meet growing housing demand.
  • On the last point, NAHB has saturated with the media with our message on the need to act on soaring lumber prices and how it is hurting home buyers, home builders, the housing industry and the economy. NAHB CEO Jerry Howard delivered this message in an April 22 appearance on Fox Business, Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast. The same day NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz discussed rising material prices on NPR Marketplace. Additionally, Fortune, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business online and the Associated Press have mentioned or quoted NAHB on the impact of rising lumber prices. 
  • NAHB is also seeking swift action on the trade front. Tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. are exacerbating price volatility and increasing housing costs.
  • In the near term, NAHB invites builders to take advantage of this free sample escalation clause to use in contracts which stipulates that if lumber prices increase by a certain percentage, the customer would be required to pay the extra cost. 

The NAHB advocacy team – Government Affairs, Communications, Economics and Legal – continues to work doggedly on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber for the home building industry at a competitive price.

NAHB Senior Economist Paul Emrath provides more analysis on how rising lumber prices have added nearly $36,000  to the price of a new home in this Eye on Housing blog post. Future analysis from NAHB will also examine additional factors, including other building material costs.

Learn more about what NAHB is doing to resolve the lumber crisis at nahb.org.


Despite Housing Shortages, Contract Signings Climb

National Association of REALTORS/REALTOR Magazine | April 19, 2021

Pending home sales climbed in March, following two months of declines that were mostly blamed on a lack of homes for sale, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Thursday. Home buyer demand remains high, but inventory constraints continue to push on sales potential.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator of homes sales based on contract signings—increased 1.9% in March and posted a 23.3% year-over-year gain. Part of that double-digit annual increase is due to a comparison to March 2020, when COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns began.

Still, “the increase in pending sales transactions for the month of March is indicative of high housing demand,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “With mortgage rates still very close to record lows and a solid job recovery underway, demand will likely remain high.”

Housing inventories may soon see a boost, too—which would be welcome news to house hunters. “More inventory will show up as new home construction intensifies in the coming months as well as from a steady wind-down of the mortgage forbearance program,” Yun adds. “Although these moves won’t immediately replenish low supply, they will be a step forward.”

Housing starts are projected to reach 1.6 million this year and then 1.7 million by 2022. NAR is projecting existing-home sales to increase by 10% in 2021. The median home price is expected to increase by 9% this year to $323,900.

Here’s a breakdown of contract signings across the country in March, according to NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index:

  • Northeast: contract signings increased 6.1% last month, marking a 16.7% increase compared to a year ago.
  • Midwest: pending home sales eased 3.7% last month but remain up 14.1% compared to a year ago.
  • South: contract signings rose 2.9% in March, up 27.9% compared to a year ago.
  • West: pending home sales increased 2.9% last month, marking a nearly 30% gain compared to a year earlier.

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