Housing starts tumble in December

1 18 18 housing COTD

1 18 18 housing COTD

"Last month, 1.2 million new homes were started, but the USA still needs 893,000 additional housing starts to get us back to normal levels".

Home-building activity stumbled in December, with housing starts down 8.2 percent to a rate of 1,192,000, according to the latest data from U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Economists had expected housing starts to drop to a rate of 1.275 million from the 1.297 million originally reported for the previous month. Single-family home starts, at an annual pace of 836,000 units, fell by 11.8 percent from November's reading, but were 3.5 percent higher than a year earlier.

Overall permit issuance in December was essentially flat, inching down 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.302 million units. Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 881,000; this is 1.8% above the revised November figure of 865,000.

Still, home builders are feeling upbeat about the housing market. "Given that the sales for both new and existing homes sold briskly through past year and at notably higher prices, housing starts should easily surpass 1.3 million in 2018".

"Should more construction come about, the much needed additional inventory will help calm home-price appreciation", Yun said.

Despite the drop in December, the three-month moving average for single-family starts reached a post-recession high rate of 890,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The rate rose 2.8% year over year. Single-family completions increased, as well, 4.3 percent to 818,000.

"Ultimately, we think that we are growing back to about 1.3 million single-family starts a year", Dietz told Scotsman Guide News earlier this week. NAHB has forecast that multifamily starts will fall from the recent above-average levels over the next two years, but remain within the normal range of around 330,000 units produced annually.

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