According to reports from Census Bureau, single-family housing starts continued their seven-month climb in November, coming in to the highest level since 2007. Housing starts increased by 1.2% in November compared to October and increased by 12.8% year over year to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.58 million starts. Single-family housing starts rose 0.4% from October and 27.1% compared to last year.
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, Joel Kan said that the report is consistent with other housing data showing that the housing market has substantially rebounded from Q2 of 2020. The demand for larger homes has strengthened because of the pandemic that led to more construction, home sales, and mortgage applications. He added that the permits for new single-family construction also rose to 2007 highs, potentially an indication that we might see the increase in homebuilding continue into early 2021.
Single-family authorizations in November were at a rate of 1.14 million, up 1.3% from the revised October rate of 1.12 million. Actual single-family housing completions dipped again in November, down 0.6% from October’s rate of 879,000 to 874,000.
First American’s Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi said that the rise in housing starts is a welcome sign of new single-family inventory to come and that 2021 may be the year of the homebuilder.
Zillow’s Economist Matthew Speakman said today’s numbers showcase the enduring strength of the housing and homebuilding markets and that builders are overcoming the constraints that have limited activity in the last few months.
The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index measuring builder confidence faltered a bit this month after three months of record highs, falling four points to 86. But it’s still the fourth month in survey history the score broke 80.
Homebuyers continued to surge the new-home market that explains why builders increased the construction of single-family homes in August. The pace of single-family starts last month reached its highest level since February, just before the COVID-19 pandemic ignited across the U.S.
Based on the report from the Commerce Department, single-family rose by 4.1% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.02 million. Meanwhile, homebuilder sentiment last month rose to an all-time high as builders felt optimistic about current and future sales.
However, rising lumber costs could threaten to price more homebuyers out of the new-home market over the coming months, according to National Association of Home Builders’ Chairman Chuck Fowke and Chief Economist Robert Dietz. Low mortgage rates are helping to offset the rising costs somewhat.
Overall, housing production in August dropped 5.1% due to a double-digit decrease in the multifamily sector. Construction of apartment buildings and condos plunged 22.7% to an annual pace of 395,000 units. “Total housing starts were down in August on a decline for multifamily construction, with multifamily 5+-unit permits now down 8.3% on a year-to-date basis,” Dietz explains. “But low interest rates and solid demand are spurring single-family construction growth, which makes up the bulk of the housing market. Single-family permits continue to rise as well and are now up almost 7% on a year-to-date basis.”
Regionally, combined single-family and multifamily housing starts were highest in the Midwest, increasing 13.6% on a year-to-date basis, followed by a 5.4% increase in the South and a 3.8% increase in the West. Housing production, meanwhile, was 4.5% lower in the Northeast last month.