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Housing Starts Data Up 28.5 Percent from May 2011, with Perspectives from Maria Wilhelm, VP of Sales for PulteGroup, and John Carroll, Ryland Homes’ Chicago Division President

by Chicago Agent

Construction data, from housing starts to permits, was largely positive in May.

Privately-owned housing starts in May were up 28.5 percent from last year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In addition, building permits increased by both monthly and yearly measures, and completions posted strong year-over-year gains.

The specific data breakdown was:

  • Permits for privately-owned units were 7.9 percent above April and 25.0 percent above May 2011, and single-family permits were 4.0 percent above April.
  • Housing starts were 4.8 percent below April’s rate, but along with the strong yearly increases, single-family starts posted 3.2 percent gains over April.
  • Completions has a similar breakdown, with a 10.3 percent decline from April but a 10.1 percent increase from May 2011. Single-family completions, though, were 6.3 percent down from April.

Maria Wilhelm, the VP of sales for PulteGroup, said the increases in the data are “absolutely” consistent with Pulte’s 2012 business. In the year’s first quarter, Wilhelm said the firm had 390 closings, or, 73 more than the closest competitor; in fact, demand has been such that there is a backlog of sales of four to six months.

In response to that demand, Wilhelm said Pulte is buying land for future developments in 2013 and beyond, with new Pulte developments in the works in Glenview, Burr Ridge, Carpentersville, Yorkville, Oswego and Naperville and Centex developments in Woodstock and Yorkville.

John Carroll, Ryland Homes’ Chicago Division president, said Ryland’s sales have been similarly strong.

“Our 2012 sales are significantly outpacing our 2011 sales, which ended up more than 30 percent over 2010,” Carroll said. “Even in June, which is historically a slower month in Chicago, at mid-month we have surpassed our total 2011 June sales. Permits and construction will continue to reflect this positive trend.”

Carroll was also optimistic regarding the downticks in completions. Homes that are finished in May, he said are typically from sales contracts in December or early January, and “does not reflect any drop off in our opinion.”

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