While still below historical averages, the amount of housing starts continued to grow in February, especially for multifamily buildings with 5 or more units
The amount of inventory, or more specifically, the lack thereof, has been one of the most talked about aspects of the housing recovery. Demand for homes has grown, but, to this point, the inventory has been unable to keep up. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some good news, though.
The 12-month rolling total of housing starts grew 11.9 percent year-over-year in February and now sits at 1,131,400 starts, reports Trulia. That number represents the most starts in a 12-month period since June 2008. While the 12-month rolling total is still below the 50-year historical average of 1,444,619 starts, it did improve 2 percent from the 50-year average in January and is now 21 percent below the total.
A large part of the housing starts total is made up of starts of 5+ unit buildings. Multifamily starts of five or more units have increased 12.4 percent from a February 2015 rolling total of 343,500. The number reached 386,000 in January 2016. Despite being right around a 42-year high, there has been some evidence that multifamily starts in 5+ unit buildings are going to begin to decrease.
As far as regional housing starts go, the South is leading the way with a 12-month rolling total of 567,700 new starts. That represents the best 12-month span since June 2008. Meanwhile, the Midwest saw a 12-month rolling total of 156,100 units in February and the West had a 12-month total of 266,500. The Northeast had a 12-month total of 142,100 in February 2016, which was a 33.8 percent increase from February 2015, the largest growth rate for any region.