Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Single-family starts in U.S. West hit 46-month high

Housing starts in the West Census region of the US, which includes Colorado, were up 25.9 percent from May 2011 to May 2012, counting both single-family and multi-family units. According to new housing construction and housing starts data released today by the US Census Bureau, housing starts in the U.S. West region hit a four-year high and there were approximately 16,500 housing units started in the West during May 2012. Of the new units started, 11,400 were single-family structures and 5,100 were structures containing more than one housing unit.

Nationally, housing starts rose 26 percent during the same period, with total housing starts rising to a total of 68,300.

Total housing starts remain well below peak levels both nationally and in the West. May 2012 housing starts in the West were 69 percent below the peak reached during May 2004. Nationally, May 2012 was 65 percent below peak levels. The national peak in housing starts was reached during May 2005.

Multifamily starts have rebounded more than single-family starts. In the West, single-family starts are 76 percent below peak levels while multifamily starts are only 49 percent below peak levels. The single-family housing starts for the West region during May were at the highest point reached since August 2008.

The West census region includes states on the west coast and within the Rocky Mountain region.

The first graph shows the difference between single-family starts and starts for structures in the West with more than one housing unit. Both remain near ten-year lows, but single-family starts in the West rose 34 percent from May 2011 to May 2012. Starts for structures with more than one unit were up 10 percent to 5,100 units over the same period.

The second graph shows month-by-month comparisons in housing starts for each year in the West. May's housing starts total was a 24 percent increase from April and were at a four-year high for any month since august 2008. Nationally, the increase from April to May 2012 was 2.5 percent. Numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

May 2012's multifamily starts were at the highest May total seen in four years There were 5,100 multifamily starts during May 2012 and 4,600 during May 2011. 

This report is the latest indicator pointing to some growth in new construction, but there are few signs, at least regionally, of surges in new housing starts. Multifamily has shown some ongoing signs of multifamily growth at the state level for Colorado,with 80-100 percent growth in year over year comparisons in multifamily permitting during recent months.