LegalShield April Economic Stress Index: Housing Construction Boom Continues as Demand Remains Strong
ADA, Okla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LegalShield today released its April Economic Stress Index, a suite of leading indicators of the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses. The LegalShield Housing Construction Index rose to an unprecedented level in the series’ history. Member requests for legal consultation on real estate matters reached their highest level in over a decade. Pandemic-induced shifts in housing demand have resulted in a national shortage of nearly 4 million homes, and builders are rushing to play catch-up. Meanwhile, Consumer Stress, a primary sub-index, fell to its lowest level on record in April due to The American Rescue Plan, warming weather, and rebounding economic activity.
“While evictions are still of paramount concern, we expect housing construction to remain strong in the near term due to high demand and low inventory levels, though sharp increases in material costs and concerns about labor shortages are key headwinds.”Tweet this
The LegalShield Economic Stress Index™ comprises five sub-indices – Consumer Stress, Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Housing Construction, and Housing Sales – constructed from the company’s proprietary data, which reflect actual demand for various legal services over the past 16 years. Each time a provider law firm, in all 50 states, receives a member request for services, the request is logged as an “intake” in one of roughly 70 unique areas of law (e.g. real estate, LLC formation, etc.). The company on average receives 160,000 intakes per month from its 1.8 million memberships, including individuals and small businesses, a statistically meaningful sample.
“Last month, we saw our members requesting legal assistance for real estate matters at a level we haven’t seen in over a decade,” said Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO. “While evictions are still of paramount concern, we expect housing construction to remain strong in the near term due to high demand and low inventory levels, though sharp increases in material costs and concerns about labor shortages are key headwinds.”
During the first four months of 2021, LegalShield saw a 22 percent increase in real estate-related legal matters as compared to the first four months of 2020. This drove the Housing Construction Index from 134.8 to 144.4 in April. Meanwhile, housing starts increased 19% in March and were up 37% from a year ago.
The LegalShield Consumer Stress Index eased (improved) 4.7 points in April to 58.3, the lowest level on record. Meanwhile, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index surged by 12.0 points to 121.7 in April, the highest level in 14 months. As is consistently the case, other indices that come out after LegalShield’s data support the LegalShield outlook.
Keybridge LLC, a boutique economic and public policy consulting firm based in Washington D.C., is responsible for independently compiling and analyzing the LegalShield data and developing the accompanying economic narrative. A PDF of LegalShield’s full April Economic Stress Index can be downloaded here: https://www.legalshield.com/economic-stress-index
About LegalShield and IDShield
A trailblazer in the democratization of affordable access to legal protection, LegalShield is the world's largest platform for legal, identity, and reputation management services covering more than 4.4 million people. Its IDShield identity theft solution for individuals and families has more than one million members. LegalShield and IDShield serve more than 140,000 businesses. In addition, over 34,000 companies offer LegalShield and IDShield plans to their employees as voluntary benefits. Both legal and identity theft plans start for less than $25 per month. For more information about LegalShield, visit https://www.legalshield.com, or for more information about IDShield, visit https://www.idshield.com/.
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