Flight to suburbs fuel home construction surge

There's a housing construction boom going on in America's suburbs.

June data released Friday by the Commerce Department showed the biggest jump in homebuilding in four years.

Builders have pointed to increased demand for single-family homes in areas of the country where there are fewer people - think small metro areas, rural markets and large metro suburbs.

The data seem to support the idea that Americans worried about crowded cities in the age of COVID-19 are packing up and fleeing to the suburbs. The surge in work-from-home flexibility is also seen as a factor supporting the exodus.

Lower mortgages rates are making the decision to move a lot easier. The interest rate on 30-year fixed mortgage is sitting at a 49-year low.... below 3 percent, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac.

Homebuilding permits, which indicate future construction plans, were up last month as well - led by a near 12 percent surge for single-family building plans. The data also indicate another trend: desire for multi-family dwellings is waning. Permits for larger buildings slumped more than 13 percent.

While the overall outlook for the housing sector looks bright, rising unemployment is a risk. Housing demand is likely to be capped by the staggering 32 million Americans who are collecting an unemployment check.

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