Energy Star Lives Another Day
Good news in building: Federal budget keeps the EPA alive, as housing starts are up in the latest data release.
The temporary funding bill approved by Congress on Friday 28 April looked nothing like the President’s original plan. While Trump fought to cut the Environmental Protection Agency, the final deal barely trims the agency’s budget, by 1 percent. The EPA gets $80 million less than last year, but the agency’s overall budget is about $8 billion. So EnergyStar lives on. Likewise, the Community Block grants and other urban development programs that many city builders rely on to help fund construction in historical and inner city neighborhoods seem likely to survive the budget process.
On the home construction front, economist Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D., has posted an update on the latest housing numbers:
March 2017 housing data were good. While starts were down 6.8% compared to February’s outstanding weather-induced number, starts were up 9.2% compared to March 2016. Moreover, starts are up 8.1% year-to-date and were up about 8% each month this year compared to last. Single-family starts are up almost 6% YTD; multifamily starts, a surprisingly strong 15% versus a weak 16Q1. Starts should rise 6% this year. Solid.