Apartment Construction Lifts Housing Starts to Highest Level in 19 Months

December 21, 2011 (Chris Moore)

A surge in apartment building in November lifted housing starts to their highest level since April 2010 according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau. Construction of single-family homes was up slightly from the previous month, but remained below last year’s levels.

Privately owned housing starts increased by 9.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 in November from a revised estimate of 627,000 in October. Housing starts were 24.3 percent higher than in November 2010 which had an estimated 551,000 starts.

Single-family housing starts increased in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 447,000, up 2.3 percent from a revised estimate of 437,000 starts in October but still down 1.5 percent from November of last year which reported an estimated 454,000 starts.

Housing starts for multi-family dwellings increased 32.2 percent from a downwardly revised 174,000 starts in October to 230,000 starts in November. Housing starts for multi-family dwellings were 180.5 percent higher than a year ago when an estimated 82,000 starts were recorded.

For the first time this year, the number of housing starts year-to-date exceeded last year’s total during the same period, mostly on the strength of multi-family starts. At the end of November, 564,900 housing starts were reported for 2011 compared to 553,100 starts last year.

Single-family housing starts accounted for 399,400 of those starts in 2011 while multi-family housing starts accounted for 156,200, while in 2010, single-family starts accounted for 444,500 of the total housing starts and multi-family starts accounted for 97,700.

The number of building permits issued in November increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 681,000, up 5.7 percent from a revised estimate of 644,000 permits in October. Authorized building permits were 20.7 percent higher than the November 2010 estimate of 564,000.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 1.6 percent higher in November than October with 435,000 permits authorized in November compared to a revised 428,000 in October. Building permit authorizations for single-family homes were 3.6 percent higher than in November of last year which had an estimated 420,000 permits issued.

Multi-family dwelling permits in November increased to 224,000 authorizations from a revised total of 193,000 in October, a 16.1 percent gain. Authorizations for multi-family dwellings were 80.6 percent higher than in November of last year which had an estimated 124,000 authorizations.

Housing completions posted a 5.6 percent decline in November compared to October with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 542,000 completions reported in November compared to October’s revised estimate of 574,000 completions. Housing completions in November were 1.6 percent lower than in November of last year when an estimated 551,000 completions were reported.

Single-family completions in November were at a rate of 440,000, which was 5.6 percent lower than October’s revised rate of 443,000. Multi-family completions in November were at a rate of 99,000, which was 20.2 percent lower than October’s 124,000 completions.

Regionally, monthly housing starts increased in three of the four regions with the Northeast posting the largest gain of 53.8 percent, followed by the West at 22.6 percent and the South at 4.1 percent, while the Midwest posted the only decline of 18.2 percent.

Compared to a year ago, three of the four regions also posted an increase in housing starts with the West posting the largest increase of 66.3 percent, followed by the Northeast at 28.2 percent and the South, which increased 24.3 percent. The Midwest posted the only decline of 16.7 percent.

Building permit authorizations increased in two of the four regions in November compared to October. In the Northeast, authorizations increased 32.8 percent and in the West authorizations increased 21.4 percent. In the South, building permit authorizations were 2.6 percent lower, while in the Midwest, authorizations were 1.9 percent lower.

All four regions posted double-digit increases in building permit authorizations year-over-year.

Based on the latest data collected by the Census Bureau through 2010, construction of a single family home from start to completion takes an average of seven months while multi-family dwellings take an average of 14 months.

Tags: housing starts, single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, building permits, housing completions

Source:
Census Bureau