The Changing Geography of Single-Family Home Construction
The slowdown in single-family construction is most pronounced in large metro areas, according to the latest findings from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) for the second quarter of 2023.
The HBGI is a quarterly measurement of building conditions across the country and uses county-level information about single- and multifamily permits to gauge housing construction growth in various urban and rural geographies.
Single-family home construction fell in all markets, but construction for both new single-family and multifamily homes has been concentrated in lower-density markets, which are showing disproportional gains in market share.
The lowest single-family year-over-year growth rates in the second quarter of 2023 occurred in large metro core counties, which posted a 24.8% decline. All large and small metro areas also had double-digit negative growth rates, while rural markets (defined as micro counties and non-metro counties) recorded negative growth rates in the single digits. Large metro suburbs (24.6%) and small metro core counties (28.5%) recorded the highest market share in single-family home building, and together account for more than 50% market share.
New Homes Getting Smaller
Newly built homes are getting smaller, according to second quarter data from the Census's Quarterly Starts and Completions report. The median square footage of a newly started single-family home fell to 2,191 feet, over 100 sq ft smaller than a year ago and the lowest level since late 2010. These smaller homes may provide a more affordable alternative for prospective buyers who have been priced out of larger properties.
Are Drone Deliveries Here to Stay?
Investments in the delivery drone sector are poised to rise in the years ahead. The global delivery drones market size is anticipated to reach $10.47 billion by 2030, according to Grand View Research. The market is projected to expand at a combined annual growth rate of 42.6% annually through 2030, from the currently estimated $873.4 million.
In the US, drone delivery is another sector in which Walmart and Amazon are duking it out. Walmart is expanding their drone delivery program; Amazon is rethinking theirs. Walmart’s recently announced on-demand drone delivery partnership with Wing will enable them to reach 60,000 more households when the service launches at two stores in the coming months. Walmart will test the program in Texas where they already have 11 drone hubs operating. Walmart says that by using drones that can fly beyond the line of sight they’ll be able to greatly expand drone delivery. Walmart has completed more than 10,000 drone deliveries from 36 stores in seven states. Customers can pay $3.99 to use the Wing service between 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. six days a week for orders weighing no more than 10 pounds. Amazon doesn’t have permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly over roadways like Walmart delivery partners, including Wing, Flytrex and DroneUp, are permitted to do.
Supply Chain by Amazon
Amazon announced a new service, Supply Chain by Amazon, at their annual seller conference. They’ll provide an end-to-end, fully automated set of supply chain services that will provide sellers with a complete solution to quickly and reliably move products directly from their manufacturers to customers around the world. Supply Chain by Amazon is designed to allow sellers to benefit from Amazon's advanced logistics, fulfillment, and transportation capabilities to keep products in stock, ship faster and more reliably, and significantly lower costs.
Amazon says that will allow sellers to focus on creating better products and growing their business. Amazon will pick up inventory from manufacturing facilities around the world, ship it across borders, handle customs clearance and ground transportation, store inventory in bulk, manage replenishment across Amazon and other sales channels, and deliver directly to customers. Amazon is also offering cross-border discounts of up to 25% on all transportation bound for Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), which allows sellers to store their inventory in Amazon distribution centers.
Amazon also introduced a new Multi-Channel Distribution capability (MCD) that moves sellers' products in bulk from AWD to any sales channel (including online stores and physical store locations), allowing selling partners to replenish across all their sales and fulfillment channels, not just on Amazon, from a single inventory pool. MCD is currently in pilot with an initial set of sellers and is expected to be available to all sellers later this year.
Are Execs Personally Liable for Corporate Deception?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has amended a lawsuit against Amazon, adding three senior executives as defendants. In June, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Amazon alleging that Amazon had tricked millions of customers into enrolling in Amazon Prime subscriptions without their consent while also deliberately making it difficult for subscribers to cancel Prime subscriptions. Named in the amended complaint are Neil Lindsay, who served as senior vice president overseeing Prime and now serves on the company's overall leadership team; Russell Grandinetti, who also serves as a senior vice president overseeing Prime; and Jamil Ghani, a company vice president who oversees the Prime subscription program. According to the amended complaint, Lindsay, Grandinetti, and Ghani were fully aware of the issues surrounding consumers being subscribed to Prime without their consent and then facing significant hurdles when trying to cancel. The amended complaint also includes significant new details of Amazon's alleged misconduct that were redacted in the original complaint, including the contents of internal company emails and messages that show the extent to which the company and its management team were aware of the misconduct.
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