Residential Construction Begin 2012 in Positive Territory

by Chicago Agent

Residential construction data improved across the board in January.

Residential housing construction started off 2012 on good footing, building on December’s gains and rising in nearly every relevant area, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Housing starts for January were up 1.5 percent over December and 9.9 percent year-over-year, and though single-family starts were down slightly from December by 1.0 percent, multifamily construction more than made up for the declines.

Building permits in January also showed monthly and yearly gains, rising 0.7 percent from December and an impressive 19.0 percent from January 2011. And unlike starts, permits for single-family units did increase for the month, rising by 0.9 percent from December.

The one area of construction that was more ambiguous in its data was housing completions. Though posting a 4.1 percent year-over-year increase, completions were down 12.0 percent from December, and single-family completions were 14.9 percent down for the month.

But still, as this chart from Calculated Risk shows, construction has been on an upward trend following two years of sideways growth. We just reported yesterday on strong results in the NAHB’s builder confidence index, which had followed strong showings in the 55-plus market and, in the most positive news of all, huge increases in multifamily originations, which suggest future developments for builders to anticipate.

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