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Housing Starts: Sharp Rebound, Trend Still Robust

December 16, 2021
Bottom Line:  After falling in September and October, housing starts rebounded sharply in November.  Single-family and multifamily sales were robust with activity in the South leading the rebound. While the trend was mixed after six-plus months of sideways to slightly slower activity, the overall level of starts remained robust.  Looking through the recent volatility the trend rate of starts was just under 1.6 million annualized units. Building permits suggested that the trend could continue into the 1st Quarter of the new year. Overall, the growth tailwind from housing has faded, but the sector is unlikely to turn into a drag on the economy as activity remains historically robust.
Housing Starts ROSE by 11.8% in November to 1679k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 1567k. Meanwhile, the prior month was revised modestly lower from 1,520k to 1,502k.  Housing starts are now 8.3% ABOVE their year-ago level.
Single Family Housing Starts
ROSE by 11.3% to 1173k. Single family housing starts are 0.8% BELOW their year-ago level but still 35.7% BELOW their January 2006 peak.
Multifamily Housing Starts ROSE by 12.9% to 506k. Multifamily starts are now 37.1% ABOVE their year-ago level.