Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Housing starts in U.S. West up 25 percent during August

Housing starts in the West Census region of the US, which includes Colorado, were up 25 percent from August 2011 to August 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, multifamily housing starts in the U.S. West region hit a five-year high for August and there were approximately 16,800 housing units of all types started in the West during August 2012. Of the new units started, 11,000 were single-family structures and 5,800 were structures containing more than one housing unit.

Nationally, housing starts rose 28 percent during the same period, with total housing starts rising to a total of 69,900.

Total housing starts remain well below peak levels both nationally and in the West. August 2012 housing starts in the West were 69 percent below the peak reached during May 2004. Nationally, August 2012 was 64 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 77 percent below peak levels while multifamily starts are only 42 percent below peak levels.

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

The first graph shows that starts totals are beginning to come out of the very-low level trend that has been in place since 2009. The broad trend shows multifamily totals approaching pre-recession peaks.

The second graph shows month-by-month comparisons in housing starts for each year in the West. August's housing starts total was down 6.6 percent from July but were at a 4-year high. That is, August 2012 was the biggest August for total starts since 2008.

August 2012's multifamily starts were at the highest August total seen in five years There were 5,800 multifamily starts during August 2012 which is the highest August total since August 2007.

Single-family starts continue to show signs of very slow improvement while multifamily starts are accelerating. This mirrors recent permit activity in Colorado where new multifamily permits are up approximately 150 percent so far this year compared to last year.