Housing Starts Up 12.1 Percent in December



Solid gains in both single-family and multifamily housing
production resulted in nationwide housing starts rising 12.1 percent to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 units in December, according to newly
released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This is the highest level of
new home production since June of 2008.

“Builders have become
increasingly optimistic about conditions in local housing markets in recent
months and this report underscores that the housing recovery is well on its
way,” says Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home
Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “With inventories of
new homes at razor thin levels, builders are moving prudently to break ground on
new construction ahead of the spring buying season to meet increasing

“Overall, this report represents a solid ending to 2012 and a
promising start to 2013,” says NAHB senior economist Robert Denk. “Multifamily
production is almost back to normal levels and while single-family starts still
have a way to go, they are gaining momentum. This trend could be even stronger
if not for persistently tight credit conditions for home buyers, flawed
appraisal values and uncertainties regarding economic policy debates in

Single-family housing starts rose 8.1 percent to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 616,000 units in December, while multifamily
production jumped 23.1 percent, to 338,000 units.

Combined single-family
and multifamily starts activity was up across all regions in December. The
Northeast posted a gain of 21.4 percent, the Midwest was up 24.7 percent, the
South posted a 3.8 percent increase and the West was up 18.7 percent.

Permit issuance, which can be a harbinger of future building activity,
held virtually steady at a 903,000-unit rate in December. Single-family permits
rose for a fourth consecutive month, by 1.8 percent to 578,000 units while
multifamily permits declined 2.1 percent to 325,000 units.

permits rose 19 percent in the Northeast and 6.6 percent in the West while the
South and Midwest posted respective declines of 3.4 percent and 5.7


For more information, visit www.nahb.org.