Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Housing starts in US West up 57 percent in February

Housing starts in the West Census region of the US, which includes Colorado, were up 57.1 percent percent from February 2012 to February 2013, counting both single-family and multi-family units combined. According to new housing construction and housing starts data released last week by the US Census Bureau, housing starts were at the highest total recorded in any February since 2008  (Graph units in 1,000s.)

But multi-family housing starts in the West were at a seven-year high for February, rising to the highest February total since 2006.  

The second graph shows multifamily housing starts for the West region (units in 1,000s): 

Multifamily housing starts increased in the region by 58 percent from February 2012 to February 2013. As the graph shows, overall multifamily activity has increased substantially since the trough of 2009, and is now at the highest level of activity since 2006. In the West region during February, there were 6,200 new multifamily units started, compared to 3,900 units during the same period of 2012. 

Single-family starts, on the other hand, showed growth that was much more restrained than multifamily growth. Nevertheless, the growth from 2012 to 2013 was substantial with single-family starts increasing 55 percent from February 2012 to February 2013. There were 9,200 new single-family starts during February 2013, compared to 5,900 single-family starts during February of 2012. (Graph units in 1,000s.)

This report signals continued optimism among both home builders and apartment builders. Year-over-year changes are large when compared with last year, showing that there is much improvement from the builders' perspective over the past year. Over a 5-year period, though, starts totals remain well down from peak levels.