Mitchell Bode

There’s something about a new year that is full of promise and optimism. This time of year, most of us tend to look forward both personally and professionally. We also take an inventory of the past year as we chart our course for the new one. The data we accumulate from one year often sets us on a path for the next one. The homebuilding industry is hopeful about 2020.

According to Integra Realty Resources’ most recent data, the third quarter of 2019 proved to be the best quarter in the Richmond area for new home closings in the last 10 years. Most of our localities saw growth from the same time period in 2018. Chesterfield County led the way in volume with new home closings and permits for single family homes. However, Goochland County had the highest average cost of new home sales, followed by Powhatan and Henrico counties. The city of Richmond was a close fourth in terms of investment, and is a market to keep an eye on in 2020 with millennials and boomers looking for smaller homes and walkable neighborhoods.

Unemployment rates are hovering at a 50-year low and the cut in interest rates last year by the Federal Reserve injected energy into the housing market nationally and locally. Freddie Mac data shows that the most popular mortgage, the 30-year fixed, has remained below four percent for the last 32 weeks. Fannie Mae’s chief economist Doug Duncan recently told The Washington Post, “Housing appears poised to take a leading role in real GDP growth over the forecast horizon for the first time in years, further bolstering our modest-but-solid growth forecasts through 2021.”

All this information has my colleagues in the industry hopeful about 2020. The political and economic landscape of 2019 paved the way for growth in 2020. We are listening to the needs and wants of the Richmond market and building accordingly. Together, we can build an even stronger community. ■

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