Housing Starts Rose, Sales Slipped in December
Housing Starts Up 12%
Housing starts data released by the U.S. Commerce Department on Jan. 17 revealed that new-home production rose 12.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 units in December of 2012. The gains applied to both houses and apartments, with an 8.1% gain to 616,000 units registered on the single-family side and a 23.1% gain to 338,000 units registered on the multifamily side.
Regionally, combined single-family and multifamily starts activity rose 21.4% in the Northeast, 24.7% the Midwest, 3.8% in the South and 18.7% in the West. Meanwhile, permit issuance, which can be an indicator of future building activity, held virtually steady at a 903,000-unit rate in December, with single-family permits up 1.8% to 578,000 units and multifamily permits down 2.1% to 325,000 units.
Regionally, permits rose 19% in the Northeast and 6.6% in the West while the South and Midwest posted respective declines of 3.4% and 5.7%. NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk said, "Overall, this report represents a solid ending to 2012 and a promising start to 2013. Multifamily production is almost back to normal levels and while single-family starts still have a way to go, they are gaining momentum."
New-Home Sales Down 7.3%
Sales of newly built, single-family homes slipped 7.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 units in December, according to figures released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau on Jan. 25. However, this loss followed an even bigger increase in the prior month and left the sales rate 20% ahead of where it stood at the end of 2011.
Regionally, sales dipped by the greatest margin (29.4%) in the Northeast in December, but also fell 8.4% in the South and 11.1% in the West. Meanwhile, the Midwest posted a 21.3% gain in new-home sales in December.
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