Housing Starts Reach 13-Year High in December

January 20, 2020
Construction Job
Residential Construction Job By Tomasz Zajda - Adobe Stock

The holidays may be over, but for builders, December just keeps on giving. Housing starts reached a 13-year high last month, signaling that the market is back on track. They jumped 16.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.608 million units, up over 40 percent from last year. Single-family homes increased nationally despite drops in the Northeast and West, and the multifamily sector soared by almost 30 percent. And though building permits dipped slightly by just under 4 percent in December, the drop came after they reached their own 12-year record high last month. As the longest economic expansion in history continues, things are definitely looking up.

U.S. homebuilding surged to a 13-year high in December as activity increased across the board, suggesting the housing market recovery was back on track amid low mortgage rates, and could help support the longest economic expansion on record.

Housing starts jumped 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.608 million units last month, the highest level since December 2006. The percentage gain was the largest since October 2016. Data for November was revised higher to show homebuilding rising to a pace of 1.375 million units, instead of advancing to a rate of 1.365 million units as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts would increase to a pace of 1.375 million units in December.

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