New residential construction ended 2013 at the highest level in six years, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. An estimated 923,400 housing units were started last year, which is 18.3 percent above year-before levels and the best total since 2007. That year, housing starts came in at 1.4 million. Still, despite a strong finish year-over-year, monthly figures fell in December. Privately-owned housing starts dropped 9.8 percent, after surging to the highest pace of the year the month before. But, though starts fell nearly 10 percent, December’s estimate was still the third best month of 2013. Also in the report, building permits were down 3 percent from the previous month. Permits – which are a barometer of future building activity – ended the year 17.5 percent above 2012’s estimate. There were an estimated 974,700 housing units authorized in 2013. More here.
According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, new home sales fell 2.1 percent in November from October’s pace. Despite the dip, sales of newly built, single-family homes are now 16.6 percent above last year’s estimate. And though November’s pace slipped, October’s previously reported rate was revised upward by 30,000, making that month’s pace a post-recession high. August and September’s sales rates were also revised upward by a total of 58,000. With those revisions, November’s rate – while slower than October – still beat economists’ expectations for the month. The new data indicates that the housing recovery is on track and buyers have largely adjusted to higher prices and mortgage rates. The median sales price of new houses sold in November was $270,900; the average sales price was $340,300. There was a 4.3 month supply of new homes available for sale at the end of the month. More here.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, new residential construction spiked 22.7 percent in November and is now nearly 30 percent above last year’s level. The increase was the largest since January 1990 and brought housing starts to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,091,000. Despite the improvement, new home construction remains below historical average. From 1959 through 2000, housing starts averaged 1.5 million per year. Still, with single-family housing starts up 20.8 percent month-over-month and demographics and household formation suggesting more growth, new home construction should continue to improve. The gains were better than economists expected and indicate a strengthening economy. More here.