Housing Starts Recover in December

(January 22, 2013) The nation’s home building industry continued to see positive gains in housing trends as the number of new privately-owned homes that started construction in December out-paced those in November according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau.

Historically, housing construction begins to slow by December, but extremely low supplies of existing homes for sale and rising prices have helped to make new homes an attractive alternative.

Housing Starts:

Privately owned housing starts increased by 12.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 in December from a revised estimate of 851,000 in November. Housing starts were 36.9 percent higher than in December 2011 which had an estimated 697,000 starts.

Single-family housing starts were higher in December, with starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 616,000, up 8.1 percent from a revised estimate of 570,000 starts in November and were 18.5 percent higher than in December of last year when an estimated 520,000 starts were reported.

Housing starts for multi-family dwellings increased by 23.1 percent from a revised rate of 260,000 starts in November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 330,000 starts in December. Housing starts for multi-family dwellings were 115.7 percent higher than a year ago when an estimated 153,000 starts were recorded.

On an unadjusted basis, housing starts fell by 3.1 percent, falling from 63,300 starts to 61,500 starts.

Regionally, monthly housing starts increased in all four regions with the Midwest posting the largest gain of 24.7 percent followed by the Northeast with a 21.4 percent increase. The West posted a gain of 18.7 percent and the South saw housing starts increase by 3.8 percent.

Compared to a year ago, all four of the regions also posted increases in housing starts with the West posting the largest increase of 57.4 percent, followed by the South with a 43.0 percent gain while the Northeast and the Midwest posted gains of 37.1 and 10.7 percent, respectively.

Building Permits:

The number of building permits issued in December increased modestly to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 903,000, up 0.3 percent from a revised estimate of 900,000 permits in November. Authorized building permits were still 28.8 percent higher than the December 2011 estimate of 701,000.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 1.8 percent higher in December than November with 578,000 permits authorized in December compared to a revised 568,000 in November. Building permit authorizations for single-family homes were 27.3 percent higher than in December of last year which had an estimated 454,000 permits issued.

Multi-family dwelling permits in December fell to 301,000 authorizations from a revised total of 304,000 in November, a decline of 1.0 percent. Authorizations for multi-family dwellings were 35.0 percent higher than in December of last year which had an estimated 223,000 authorizations.

Building permit authorizations increased in two of the four of the regions in December. In the Northeast, authorizations rose by 19.0 percent followed by the West where authorizations increased by 6.6 percent. In the Midwest, authorizations fell by 5.7 percent between November and December and in the South, authorizations declined 3.4 percent between the two months.

Year-over-year, building permit authorizations increased in all four regions with the West posting the largest increase of 35.5 percent, closely followed by the Midwest which posted a 33.0 percent increase and the South and the Northeast which saw gains of 25.7 and 23.7 percent, respectively.

Housing Completions:

The number of homes that were completed during the month increased by 1.6 percent from November to December with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 686,000 completions reported in December compared to November’s revised estimate of 675,000 completions. Housing completions were 13.2 percent higher than in December of last year when an estimated 606,000 completions were reported.

Single-family completions in December were at an annual rate of 535,000 units, which was 3.7 percent higher than November’s revised rate of 516,000 and 16.3 percent above last year’s rate of 460,000 units. Multi-family completions in December were at a rate of 144,000 units, 4.0 percent lower than the 150,000 units completed in November but 5.1 percent higher than the 137,000 completions in December of last year.

On an unadjusted basis, housing completions in 2012 were 11.4 percent higher than in 2011.

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

Source:
Census Bureau

Reported by Chris Moore