Housing Production Continues Upward Trend in February
March 19, 2013
Housing production across the nation moved up 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000 units in February, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Census Bureau. The slight uptick represents gains in both the single-family and multifamily sectors. Single-family housing starts saw a 0.5 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618,000 units in February, bringing them to their highest level since June of 2008, while multifamily starts rose 1.4 percent to 299,000 units.
"Demand for new homes and apartments is definitely rising as the spring buying season approaches and more young people move out on their own," says Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Builders are responding to this improved demand by putting more crews back to work and pulling more permits for future construction, though this positive activity is being constrained by continuing issues with appraisals and credit availability for both builders and buyers, and also by newly arising challenges such as lot shortages and increased costs for labor and materials."
"Today's report indicates that, despite some bumps in the road, overall housing production continues on the solid upward trend that we saw throughout 2012," says David Crowe, chief economist at NAHB. "Moreover, further gains in permit issuance are a positive sign that home construction will continue to drive economic and job growth in the coming months, albeit at a slower pace than would be possible without certain limiting factors."
Regionally in February, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose strongly in the Northeast and Midwest with gains of 18.4 percent and 37.5 percent, respectively, but fell 5.7 percent and 7.2 percent in the South and West, respectively.
The Midwest, South and West posted respective gains of 1.4 percent, 9.9 percent and 6.4 percent in permitting activity for February, while the Northeast posted an 18.2 percent decline.