Housing starts rose a modest 1.5% in January to 699,000 annualized units according to a Census Bureau report released this morning. December’s housing starts were revised up as well, from 657,000 annual units to 689,000. Permit issuance also rose in January to 676,000 annual units, up 0.7% from December. Housing completions declined by 12% in January. All measures of housing construction are well above year-ago levels.
Gains in housing starts were led by multifamily construction, which rose 8.5% in January. Single family starts declined by 1.0% to an annualized rate of 508,000 homes. Permits for both single and multi-family homes rose by 0.4% and 0.9% respectively.
Although we have seen significant improvements in housing starts in the last year, they are improving from a low base and have a long way to go. The post-recession peaks near 700,000 units per year are nowhere near the 30-year average of 1.5 million units per year.
Read the report.