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Housing Starts Gain on Strength in Multifamily

Housing Starts Gain on Strength in Multifamily

Today's photos are those of Archival Designs' Luxury Starter Castle, Pontarion II.

Nationwide housing starts rose 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 units in May due primarily to increased production on the multifamily side, according to government data released this week. While single-family starts held at a solid but virtually unchanged pace of 599,000 units, multifamily production bounced back from an over-correction in the previous month with a 21.6% gain to 315,000 units.

Regionally, combined starts activity posted gains of 17.8% in the South and 5.7% in the West and declines of 9.0% in the Northeast and 13.7% in the Midwest. Meanwhile, issuance of new building permits declined 3.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units in May. This reduction was due entirely to a 10.0% decline to 352,000 units on the multifamily side following a spike in that same sector’s permits in April.
Conversely, single-family permits edged up 1.3% to 622,000 units in May -- their best pace in five years.  Regionally, permits were up 4.0% in the Northeast but down 6.1% in the Midwest, 3.3% in the South and 3.5% in the West in May. NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe characterized this latest report as quite positive overall. While unusually wet weather across much of the country likely dampened the pace of single-family production in May, he said, "the strength in permit issuance for single-family units -- and stockpiling of permits for future use -- provides further evidence that housing continues on a slow and steady path to recovery.”

Builders, Lumber Dealers Report Shortages of Key Building Materials

Home builders and lumber dealers are reporting significant shortages of key home building materials such as lumber and wall board, according to recent surveys by NAHB and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). In a press release calling attention to the issue this week, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe cautioned that supply constraints are one of the barriers to a more robust recovery and said that "the shortages and price increases reported by both home builders and lumber dealers are particularly concerning given that the current rate of construction is still far below what would be considered normal or necessary to meet underlying demand."
Among builders, the highest incidence of shortages was for oriented strand board (OSB), with 22% of builders reporting shortages, followed by wall board (20%), framing lumber (18%) and plywood (18%). With the exception of wall board, lumber dealers reported greater shortages of these products than did home builders. Among lumber dealers, 27 to 28% reported shortages of OSB and plywood, 36% reported shortages of framing lumber and 12% reported shortages of wall board. With the exception of concrete-related products, a larger share of lumber dealers than builders reported price increases in building materials over the past six months. On average, builders reported a 5.17% increase in the materials that go into a house over the past six months. Most lumber dealers reported that the prices of the products they handle had increased on average by 10% or more over the past six months.

July Webinar Looks at Changes to Energy Code Requirements

NAHB BuilderBooks is proud to host an upcoming webinar that explains significant changes to the requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code. “Prepare for the Changes to the 2012 Codes Energy Requirements” will be offered from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 10. NAHB staff experts Craig Drumheller and Don Surrena, CBO, will:
  • Identify changes to the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code
  • Discuss new whole-house mechanical ventilation requirements
  • Review the cost impact of the new energy and ventilation requirements
Participants can earn one-and-a-half hours of continuing education credit for their NAHB professional designation and can purchase the 2012 Home Builders’ Jobsite Codes publication at a 20% discount. The webinar costs $24.95 for NAHB council members, $29.95 for other NAHB members and $49.95 for non-members. Here's where to register. Contact: Patricia Potts ( 800-368-5242  extension 8224.)
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  • Joanne Loftus
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