The housing recovery strengthened in December as new residential construction increased 12.1% from the previous month. Housing starts are now running 954,000 their fastest level since early 2008. Housing starts have risen 36.9% above their level one year ago. Despite the strong improvement, housing starts are improving from an extremely low base. December’s pace is only 2/3 of the long run average of 1.5 million units per year.
As has been the case throughout most of the recovery to date, December’s increase was driven by strong growth in multi-family construction. Multi-family construction surged 20.3% over the month. Single-family starts were strong in December as well, rising 5.0%.
Other statistics were positive as well, with increases in permit issuance and completions. Permits issued rose 0.3%, with single-family permits being the sole source of strength, offsetting a decline by multi-family starts. This is notable because it indicates that the important single-family sector is poised for strong gains. Completions rose 1.6% in December as well.
Read the Census release.