Housing starts fall for first time since August

Single-family housing starts were down 12% from December

National /
Feb.February 18, 2021 12:10 PM
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Housing starts fell in January, marking the first time since August that there hasn’t been month-over-month growth in residential construction.

Privately owned housing starts dropped to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.58 million, down 6 percent from December’s revised rate of 1.68 million, according to the Census Bureau’s monthly report. December was the strongest month for residential construction since 2006.

Starts for single-family homes fared worse, with an adjusted rate of 1.16 million, down 12 percent from December’s revised rate of 1.3 million.

January housing starts were also down 2.3 percent year-over-year; the revised rate of starts at the beginning of 2020 was 1.6 million.

The declines come as home and lumber prices are rising, potentially indicating waning demand from homebuyers who may be priced out of the market. But homebuilder sentiment ticked up in February after two months of declines, a signal that strong demand remains among prospective buyers.

On the bright side, the rate of building permits issued ticked up significantly in January, an indicator of future starts. The seasonally-adjusted rate of permits issued last month was 1.88 million, up more than 10 percent compared to the revised December rate of 1.7 million. January’s issuance is up 22 percent compared to the same time last year.

The rate of housing completions last month also slipped to a seasonally adjusted 1.3 million, about 2 percent down from December’s revised rate. The rate of single-family completions, however, jumped to more than 1 million, up 10 percent from the previous month’s revised rate of 942,000.

Overall, the housing completion rate was up 2 percent year-over-year last month, compared to January 2020, though the number of homes available to purchase remain at historically low levels.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    In 2018, a Brookings Institution study found homes in majority-Black neighborhoods were undervalued by $48,000 on average. (iStock)
    Appraisal Institute taking steps to root out racial bias
    Appraisal Institute taking steps to root out racial bias
    Jennifer Kalish was Elliman's top individual broker, while Holly Parker led the top team in Manhattan. (Douglas Elliman)
    Here are Elliman and Corcoran Sunshine’s top producers of 2020
    Here are Elliman and Corcoran Sunshine’s top producers of 2020
    Chris Jiashu Xu and Long Island City's Skyline Tower. (Skyline Tower)
    Closings underway at Queens’ tallest building
    Closings underway at Queens’ tallest building
    A unit at a Brooklyn Heights condo was the priciest deal last week. (One Clinton)
    Brooklyn Heights condo is borough’s priciest deal signed last week
    Brooklyn Heights condo is borough’s priciest deal signed last week
    9 East 71st Street and Jeffrey Epstein (Photos via Getty)
    Jeffrey Epstein’s UES townhouse in contract for around $50M
    Jeffrey Epstein’s UES townhouse in contract for around $50M
    (iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    January home prices up 10% in biggest annual gain in 7 years
    January home prices up 10% in biggest annual gain in 7 years
    Joel Simkhai and a rendering of 215 East 19th Street (Photos via Getty, Gramercy Square/Woods Bagot)
    Grindr founder snaps up Gramercy penthouse listed at $29.5M
    Grindr founder snaps up Gramercy penthouse listed at $29.5M
    Lydia Sussek and Howard Lorber (Corcoran, Getty)
    Corcoran vet Lydia Sussek joins Elliman
    Corcoran vet Lydia Sussek joins Elliman
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...