While any construction is better than no construction, housing analysts focus more on home building than remodeling, as the nation's home builders contribute more to the overall economy, with more jobs and materials. Home builders have ramped up production dramatically, as they rise from the ashes of the housing bust.
Housing starts and permits are up significantly from the bottom, and the public builders are all reporting at least double-digit gains in new orders.
They still, however, need to see more demand from their historically strong cohort, the first-time home buyer. Those younger Americans are seeing employment gains, but are still proportionally harder-hit than the rest of the work force.
(Read More: Home Prices Rise, but Analysts See Pressure Ahead)
"Among 25-34 year-olds, the prime age group for housing demand, 75.1 percent were employed in October, up from 74.9 percent in September and from 73.6 percent in October 2011,"" notes Jed Kolko of Trulia.com, a real estate sales and information website. "For this age group, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in October, down from 9.7 percent one year ago – an even bigger drop than for the economy overall. Labor force participation increased for this key group."
The downside in October's jobs report, however is that job growth in what Kolko calls "clobbered metros" was just 0.5 percent (annualized rate) through September – behind the national average of 1.6 percent for the same period. (These figures are annualized 3-month growth rates to September, the latest data released for metros.) Kolko defines clobbered metros as the areas with the biggest price declines during the bust and the highest vacancy rates now: "Job growth there is especially important for housing demand," he notes.
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