Housing starts for new residential homes fell in January as multi-family starts slumped while new single-family home construction starts increased modestly according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau.
The good news for the nation’s home builders is that housing starts are still more than twenty percent higher than a year ago and an increase in building permits would indicate that builders are feeling confident about their future prospects.
Privately owned housing starts fell by 8.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 in January from a revised estimate of 973,000 in December. Housing starts were still 23.6 percent higher than in January 2012 which had an estimated 720,000 annual starts.
Single-family housing starts were slightly higher in January, with starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 613,000, up 0.8 percent from a revised estimate of 608,000 starts in December and were 20.0 percent higher than in January of last year when an estimated 511,000 starts were reported.
Housing starts for multi-family dwellings fell by 26.1 percent from a revised rate of 352,000 starts in December to a seasonally adjusted rate of 260,000 starts in January. Housing starts for multi-family dwellings were 34.7 percent higher than a year ago when an estimated 193,000 starts were recorded.
On an unadjusted basis, housing starts fell by 6.8 percent, falling from 62,500 starts to 58,500 starts.
Regionally, monthly housing starts increased in two of the four regions with the West posting the largest gain of 16.7 percent followed by the South with a 4.1 percent increase. The Midwest posted the largest decline of 50.0 percent and the Northeast saw housing starts fall by 35.3 percent.
Compared to a year ago, three of the four of the regions also posted increases in housing starts with the West posting the largest increase of 73.0 percent, followed by the South with a 19.9 percent gain while the Northeast recorded an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. The Midwest posted the only decline of 10.4 percent
The number of building permits issued in January increased slightly to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 925,000, up 1.8 percent from a revised estimate of 909,000 permits in December. Authorized building permits were 35.2 percent higher than the January 2012 estimate of 684,000.
Single-family building permit authorizations were 1.9 percent higher in January than December with 584,000 permits authorized in January compared to a revised 573,000 in December. Building permit authorizations for single-family homes were 29.2 percent higher than in January of last year which had an estimated 452,000 permits issued.
Multi-family dwelling permits also increase in January, climbing to 311,000 authorizations from a revised total of 308,000 in December, an increase of 1.0 percent. Authorizations for multi-family dwellings were 46.7 percent higher than in January of last year which had an estimated 212,000 authorizations.
Building permit authorizations increased in three of the four of the regions in January. In the Midwest, authorizations rose by 41.6 percent followed by the Northeast where authorizations increased by 39.7 percent while in the South, permits increased by 19.9 percent. Only the West suffered a decline, a modest 0.5 percent.
Year-over-year, building permit authorizations increased in all four regions with the West posting the largest increase of 72.7 percent, followed by the Midwest which posted a 41.6 percent increase and the Northeast and the South saw gains of 39.7 and 19.9 percent, respectively.
The number of homes that were completed during the month increased by 6.0 percent from December to January with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 724,000 completions reported in January compared to December’s revised estimate of 683,000 completions. Housing completions were 33.6 percent higher than in January of last year when an estimated 542,000 annual completions were reported.
Single-family completions in January were at an annual rate of 565,000 units, which was 7.0 percent higher than December’s revised rate of 528,000 and 43.4 percent above last year’s rate of 394,000 units. Multi-family completions in January were at a rate of 152,000 units, 3.4 percent higher than the rate of 147,000 units completed in December and 8.6 percent higher than the 140,000 completions in January 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
Reported by Chris Moore