Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Multifamily housing starts approach peak levels in U.S. West region

Housing starts in the West Census region of the US, which includes Colorado, were up 24.6 percent from September 2011 to September 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 were tied at a seven-year high for September and there were approximately 18,200 housing units of all types started in the West during September 2012. Of the new units started, 11,100 were single-family structures and 7,100 were structures containing more than one housing unit. 

Nationally, housing starts rose 34 percent during the same period, with total housing starts rising to a total of 79,000.

Total housing starts remain well below peak levels both nationally and in the West. September 2012 housing starts in the West were 66 percent below the peak reached during May 2004. Nationally, September 2012 was 60 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 were 48 percent below peak levels while multifamily starts were only 29 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 while single-family starts continue to be down significantly, multifamily starts are quickly returning to levels that were common during the past decade. Since 2001, the monthly average for multifamily starts has been 5,600 starts. with a total of 7,100 starts for September, the West region was above average, and this combined with September hitting a seven-year high for the month, the data again confirms that multifamily starts are no longer near historically low levels. 

The second graph shows that September's total was tied with September 2011 as the most active September for multifamily starts since September 2005. 

The third graph shows all starts in the region, and these were at a five year high for September. The last time there were more starts during September was September 2007 when there were re were 23,000 housing starts.
New construction continues to recover in the region from the 2008-2010 trough, and this latest data further reiterates that multifamily construction is moving more quickly than single-family.