Due to a double-digit dip on the typically volatile multifamily side, nationwide housing starts declined 8.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 units in January, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, issuance of permits for new-home construction rose 1.8 percent to 925,000 units – the quickest pace since mid-2008.
“Steady demand for new homes is prompting builders to put more construction crews back to work in order to replenish thin supplies of completed product,” noted Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “We expect this progress to continue through the spring buying season and beyond, with credit availability and poor appraisals being the primary limiting factors.”
“Today’s report is quite positive in that it shows continued upward movement in single-family housing production and permitting activity for both single- and multifamily units,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Meanwhile, the decline in multifamily starts reflects an adjustment from an unsustainably large gain in December, and is consistent with the up-and-down swings that are often associated with that sector.”