Monday, February 02, 2015

Q4 2014 GDP Details on Residential and Commercial Real Estate

by Bill McBride on 2/02/2015 02:11:00 PM

The BEA has released the underlying details for the Q4 advance GDP report today.

Investment in single family structures is now back to being the top category for residential investment (see first graph).  Home improvement was the top category for twenty consecutive quarters following the housing bust ... but now investment in single family structures has been back on top for the last 5 quarters.

However - even though investment in single family structures has increased from the bottom - single family investment is still very low, and still below the bottom for previous recessions as a percent of GDP. I expect further increases over the next few years.

Residential Investment ComponentsClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph is for Residential investment components as a percent of GDP. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, RI includes new single family structures, multifamily structures, home improvement, Brokers’ commissions and other ownership transfer costs, and a few minor categories (dormitories, manufactured homes).

Investment in single family structures was $202 billion (SAAR) (over 1.1% of GDP).

Investment in home improvement was at a $178 billion Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in Q4 (just over 1.0% of GDP).   

Office Investment as Percent of GDPThe second graph shows investment in offices, malls and lodging as a percent of GDP. Office, mall and lodging investment has increased recently, but from a very low level.

Investment in offices is down about 44% from the recent peak (as a percent of GDP) and increasing from a very low level - and is still below the lows for previous recessions (as percent of GDP).  With the high office vacancy rate, office investment will only increase slowly.

Investment in multimerchandise shopping structures (malls) peaked in 2007 and is down about 59% from the peak.   The vacancy rate for malls is still very high, so investment will probably stay low for some time.

Lodging investment peaked at 0.31% of GDP in Q3 2008 and is down about 63%.   With the hotel occupancy rate near record levels, it is likely that hotel investment will probably continue to increase.

These graphs show investment is generally increasing, but from a very low level.