U.S.: Housing Starts Rose 4.4% in December

U.S.: Housing Starts Rose 4.4% in December
Photo by David M. Kinchen

Led by solid gains in single-family housing production, nationwide housing starts rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.089 million units in December, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department, released Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. For the year, overall housing starts topped 1 million units.

“Today’s figures continue to be in line with our recent surveys, as builders have been becoming increasingly optimistic,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.

“With overall starts ending the year above 1 million units for the first time since 2007, we expect this momentum to carry forward in 2015,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “A growing labor market and strengthening economy will spur steady growth in single-family housing production in the year ahead.”

Single-family housing production rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 728,000 in December while multifamily starts edged 1 percent lower to 361,000 units.

Combined single-family and multifamily production was up in three out of four regions in December. The Northeast posted a 12.5 percent gain, the South was up 8.8 percent and the West registered a 5.8 percent increase. The Midwest posted a 13.3 percent decline.

Privately-owned housing completions in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 927,000. This is 6.3 percent above the revised November estimate of 872,000 and is 19.6 percent above the December 2013 rate of 775,000.

Single-family housing completions in December were at a rate of 667,000; this is 9.5 percent above the revised November rate of 609,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 254,000.

An estimated 883,000 housing units were completed in 2014. This is 15.5 percent above the 2013 figure of 764,400.

Overall permit issuance was down 1.9 percent in December to a rate of 1.032 million. Single-family permits rose by 4.5 percent to 667,000 units while multifamily permits fell 12 percent to a rate of 365,000 units.

Regionally, permits were mixed in December. The Midwest and South posted gains of 6.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, while the Northeast and West dropped 16.8 percent and 20.5 percent. 

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