3 Great Things Going on in New Construction

by Peter Thomas Ricci

The Census Bureau’s latest new construction stats for February were awash with positivity, with building permits, housing starts and completions all up.


It’s that time of the month again, when the U.S. Census Bureau releases the latest stats on the new construction housing market, and for February, the data was almost uniformly positive, with nearly every aspect of the Bureau’s report showing growth for new construction.

With that in mind, here were three great things in the Bureau’s report:

1. Building permits were up; WAY up! – Building permits for privately-owned housing units rose 4.6 percent from January to February and by 33.8 percent from February 2012; furthermore, single-family authorizations (permits for new single-family homes) were up 2.7 percent from January, while multifamily authorizations (for buildings with five or more units) were up 2.2 percent.

2. Housing Starts at 4.5-Year High – Housing starts data may have been the most positive in the whole report, climbing 0.8 percent monthly and 27.7 percent yearly to a rate of 917,000; that’s the highest rate of housing starts since 2008, and, noted Bill McBride on Calculated Risk, housing starts are now up 90 percent from their bottom. Also, single-family housing starts were up 0.5 percent (and are now up 75 percent from the bottom), and multifamily starts were up nearly 10 percent.

3. Housing Completions Stay Strong – Housing completions, the number of residences that were completed and released to the marketplace, dipped slightly by 0.6 percent from January, but were still up 24.3 percent from February 2012; and more importantly, single-family housing completions were up 3.6 percent, which is only good news given how low housing inventory currently is.

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