Monday, February 01, 2010

Residential Investment Components in Q4

by Bill McBride on 2/01/2010 04:44:00 PM

More from the Q4 GDP underlying detail tables ...

Note: Residential investment (RI), according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), includes new single family structures, multifamily structures, home improvement, broker's commissions, and a few minor categories.

Back in Q4 2008 - for the first time ever - investment in home improvements exceeded investment in new single family structures. This has continued through Q4 2009.

Residential Investment Components Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the various components of RI as a percent of GDP for the last 50 years. The most important components are investment in single family structures followed by home improvement.

Investment in home improvement was at a $153.3 billion Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in Q4, significantly above the level of investment in single family structures of $110.9 billion (SAAR).

Home improvement spending, as a percent of GDP, is close to the long term median. Brokers' commissions are above the median after being boosted by the homebuyer tax credit.

Of course investment in single family structures is still fairly close to the record low set in Q2 2009, and far below the normal level. Also far below normal is investment in multifamily structures. These two categories will not increase significantly until the number of excess housing units is reduced (I'll have more on the number of excess housing units tomorrow after the Census Bureau releases the Q4 Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report).