Thursday, July 19, 2012

Housing starts in U.S. West region soar to four-year high

Housing starts in the West Census region of the US, which includes Colorado, were up 62.3 percent from June 2011 to June 2012, counting both single-family and multi-family units. According to new housing construction and housing starts data released yesterday by the US Census Bureau, housing starts in the U.S. West region hit a four-year high and there were approximately 21,100 housing units started in the West during June 2012. Of the new units started, 11,600 were single-family structures and 9,500 were structures containing more than one housing unit.

Nationally, housing starts rose 24.9 percent during the same period, with total housing starts rising to a total of 75,600.

Overall total housing starts remain well below peak levels both nationally and in the West. June 2012 housing starts in the West were 61 percent below the peak reached during May 2004. Nationally, June 2012 was 62 percent below peak levels. The national peak in housing starts was reached during May 2005.

Multifamily starts in the west, have bucked this trend, however, and have almost returned to peak levels. In the West, single-family starts are 76 percent below peak levels while multifamily starts are only 5 percent below peak levels. The single-family housing starts for the West region during June were at the highest point reached since May 2006.

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. Clearly, multifamily numbers are well up from what has been seen since 2008, and although still down significantly from peak levels, single-family starts are a ta three-year high.

The second graph shows month-by-month comparisons in housing starts for each year in the West. June's housing starts total was a 33 percent increase from May and was the highest June total since 2007.  Nationally, the increase from May to June 2012 was 10 percent. Numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

June 2012's multifamily starts were at the highest June total seen in a decade. There were 59,500 multifamily starts during June 2012, which is significantly higher than any other June total since June 2001.

This report is the latest indicator pointing to accelerating growth in multifamily housing, with very moderate growth in single-family housing.