Housing Starts: Trend Improved into Year-End

December 17, 2019
Bottom Line: Housing starts rebounded further in November and were revised higher for October. Overall, the trend is continuing to show signs of modest improvement after flat-lining late last year through the middle of this year. The three-month averages for both single-family and multifamily starts are above the six-month averages, which are above the 12-month average. Finally, building permits were higher with gains in both the single family and multifamily sectors. Housing Starts ROSE by 3.2% in November to 1365k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 1345k. Meanwhile, the prior month was revised slightly higher from 1,314k to 1,323k. Housing starts are now 13.6% ABOVE their year ago level. However, they are still a sharp 39.9% BELOW their January 2006 peak. Single Family Housing Starts ROSE by 2.4% to 938k. Single family housing starts are 16.7% ABOVE their year ago level but still 48.5% BELOW their January 2006 peak. Multifamily Housing Starts ROSE by 4.9% to 427k. Multifamily starts are now 7.3% ABOVE their year ago level.