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Housing production in January levels off after multifamily surge

Feb. 16, 2017 - Housing starts returned to trend, dropping 2.6 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.246 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Multifamily production fell 10.2 per cent to 423,000 units after an unusually high December 2016 reading, whereas single-family starts ticked up 1.9 per cent to 823,000 units.

"A settling of housing production is in line with what we are hearing from builders -- that they are largely optimistic about current market conditions but still face supply-side headwinds and regulatory hurdles," said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.

"Some pull back in housing production is unsurprising after an overly strong multifamily reading last month," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "As we move forward in 2017, we can expect the multifamily sector to continue to stabilize and single-family production to move forward at a gradual but consistent pace."

Regionally in January, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 55.4 per cent in the Northeast and 20 per cent in the South. Starts fell by 17.9 per cent in the Midwest and 41.3 per cent in the West.

Overall permit issuance rose 4.6 per cent in January to 1.285 million units. Single-family permits fell 2.7 per cent to 808,000 units. Meanwhile, multifamily permits increased 19.8 per cent to 477,000 units.

Regionally, permits rose 29.6 per cent in the Northeast, 9.9 per cent in the South and 5.3 per cent in the Midwest. The West registered a decline of 13.2 per cent.

February 16, 2017  By National Association of Home Builders

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