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Single-family housing starts reach highest level since late 2007

March 16, 2017 - Nationwide housing starts rose 3 per cent in February from an upwardly revised January reading to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.288 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Single-family production increased 6.5 per cent to 872,000 units -- its highest reading in nearly a decade – while multifamily starts fell 3.7 per cent to 416,000 units.

"This month's gain in single-family starts is consistent with rising builder confidence in the housing market," said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a homebuilder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. "We should see single-family production continue to grow throughout the year, tempered somewhat by supply-side constraints such as access to lots and labor."

"The growth in the single-family arena is very encouraging, but may be partly attributable to unusually warm weather conditions throughout most of the country," said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. "The modest drop in multifamily starts is in line with our forecast, which calls for this sector to continue to stabilize in 2017."

Regionally in February, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 35.7 per cent in the West. Starts fell by 3.8 per cent in the South, 4.6 in the Midwest and 9.8 per cent in the Northeast.

A drop in multifamily permits pulled overall permit issuance down 6.2 per cent in February. Multifamily permits fell 21.6 per cent to 381,000 units, while single-family permits rose 3.1 per cent to 832,000 units -- its highest level since September 2007.

Regionally, overall permits rose 25.4 per cent in the Midwest. Permits fell 10 per cent in the West, 10.4 per cent in the South and 22.3 per cent in the Northeast. 

March 16, 2017  By National Association of Home Builders

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