Housing Starts Hit 13-Year High

Privately-owned housing starts exploded in December to a 13-year high. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Census Bureau, housing starts increased 16.9% in December above November's revised estimate. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,608,000 is nearly 41% better than December 2018.

"The big jump in the last month of readings is due primarily to activity in the higher end homes," said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D. "The millennial buyer is still leaning more toward the multi-family unit, although those in their 30s are becoming more interested in single-family dwellings as they start families."

Meanwhile, building permits were 3.9% below November's revised estimate; however, the rate was almost 6% higher than December 2018. Housing completions were ahead of November's rate by 5.1% and 19.6% better than December 2018.

Regionally, housing starts improved in December in all four regions—Northeast, Midwest, South and West. The Northeast saw a more than 25% increase, and the Midwest had a nearly 40% jump. Year-over-year numbers were also impressive with the Midwest increasing roughly 85% and the West at nearly 73%.

—Michael Miller, managing editor

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